Holy Rat Juice! The Fear Factor Lawsuit
In the early 2000s, a show gripped the attention of people all around the United States and many other parts of the world. This show was called Fear Factor, and it was a reality show that was different from everything else on television in the United States.
The contestants would compete against one another by performing a range of difficult stunts, as well as partaking in some disgusting challenges. The gross-out factor was as appealing to many viewers as the fear. Winners would take home $50,000.
The popular show was not without quite a bit of controversy, of course. The American Humane Association said that the show harmed animals during the stunts, for example. It was also on the receiving end of a lawsuit.
Wait… Don’t Drink That
It was during the fifth season of the show that one of the most disgusting stunts was introduced. The contestants were required to drink blended rat juice. Just as the title and the last sentence say, rat juice. That’s not a typo. It doesn’t get much worse than that. Most people who don’t want to watch would change the channel, but not all viewers realized just how much that stunt would affect them.
A paralegal, Austin Aitken, watched the show and said that he felt so grossed out while watching that his blood pressure rose. He got lightheaded, vomited, and ended up running into a doorway. This caused an injury, suffering, and pain, according to Aitken. He then decided that the only course of action would be to sue NBC for the television show he could’ve decided not to watch when he found out what the stunt would be. He sued the media giant for $2.5 million.
This was not the first episode of the show he had watched. He said that he had seen other episodes and did not have a problem with them, despite the fact that people were eating worms and insects. The thing that bothered him was the rats. Everyone has their thing that bothers them, and Aitken found his limits with that episode. To be fair, it is gross. Rat smoothies are certainly not for everyone.
The judge was not sympathetic to Aitken’s claims. The lawsuit was thrown out and deemed as being frivolous. Judge Lesley Wells also warned Aitken against the idea of appealing the case.
Aitken said that the number he had put for damages was just “any figure,” and that he did not actually expect to get $2.5 million from NBC. He said that he wanted to send a message to NBC and other networks by filing the lawsuit. Since the lawsuit was tossed out though, it’s unclear whether it had much of an effect or not.
Beware What You Watch
While Fear Factor is no longer on the air, there are plenty of other shows that feature what some would consider being disgusting or offensive content—both reality shows and fictional programs. There are ratings on most programs that can give you an indication of the type of content that it will include.
It’s important for people to be aware of the type of content they are watching and to make the choice whether to continue or to watch something else. The onus is on the viewer to determine whether they can handle the show or not. Those who have weak stomachs might want to consider avoiding programs that could cause them to feel ill.
With all of the various streaming content that’s available today, it should be possible to find something for everyone.