Ben Stein Is “Expelled”! Oh the Joy!

Everyone will be blogging about this today, but there’s no way we’re going to be left out. In the Japanese edition of the Wall Street Journal we read Ben Stein Sues Kyocera Over Ad Campaign Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

In his time, Ben Stein has worked as an economist, written speeches for Richard Nixon, and appeared in Seinfeld. Now the versatile 67-year-old actor is taking on a new role: He’s suing the U.S. arm of Japan’s Kyocera Corp. after the electronics company replaced him as its next pitchman for computer printers, alleging he was dumped over his views on global warming.

This “viewpoint discrimination” stuff is bigger threat to the world than global warming. It’ll be the end of us all if we’re not careful. But let’s stay with the Journal:

In the complaint, Mr. Stein alleges all that was left to sort out was the kind of tea and snacks to serve during the commercial shoot when in February 2011, two months after the company first approached him, printer making unit Kyocera Mita questioned “whether Ben Stein’s views on global warming and on the environment were sufficiently conventional and politically correct for Kyocera.”

Here’s a link to the complaint. The Journal continues:

According to the complaint, Mr. Stein responded to a question from the company seeking to ascertain his views on global warming that while he was concerned about the environment, “he was by no means certain that global warming was man-made, a position held by many scientists and political conservatives.”

In addition, he asked his agent to tell Kyocera that “as a matter of religious belief, he believed that God, and not man, controlled the weather.”

We knew Stein was a flaming creationist, but until now we didn’t know about this. The Journal continues:

Kyocera withdrew its offer about a week later, according to the complaint. The company explained to his agent it was because of “Ben’s official positions on various policy issues, but also statements widely attributed to him that appear on the web of which we have only lately become aware.”

Hey — if “Kyocera withdrew its offer,” that indicates there never was a contract. This is a strange lawsuit. Well, actually it’s not. Minorities can sue if a company won’t deal with them, so maybe there’s something to it. Here’s one more excerpt:

Mr. Stein was to appear as an economist in commercials trumpeting the value of Kyocera and Kyocera Mita computers, the complaint says. He would also speak at a company event. According to the complaint, the sides agreed to a $300,000 employment contract, the amount Mr. Stein is seeking in damages, as well as additional costs like attorney fees.

Okay, the case will work its way through the court — until the parties come to their senses and settle it. Meanwhile, check out what popped up last night at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

They’ve written Was Ben Stein “Expelled” by Kyocera and Ad Agency for His Views on Intelligent Design? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

[T]he company’s message to him indicated that he was dropped for various unnamed policy positions they found him identified with on the Internet. Stein is at least as well known for his controversial opinions on evolution and intelligent design as he is for anything he’s said about the climate.

Then, always seeking to get themselves into the act, the Discoveroids quote this portion of Stein’s complaint:

Ben Stein is especially well known in recent years for his advocacy of free speech and free inquiry on complex public issues such as environmentalism and evolution. He has hosted a documentary on the subject and written about it frequently over the last several years.

Yes, and that “documentary” is the notorious creationist clunker, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The Discoveroid post is brief, and it ends with this:

A sad irony, but not unexpected, if an economist and showman like Stein has now suffered a similar fate [as the creation scientists in Expelled].

There’s yet another fate Stein may suffer. Now that the word is getting around that Stein sues if he doesn’t get hired, we suspect that no one in the advertising industry will even talk to the guy any more. It’s too dangerous.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “Ben Stein Is “Expelled”! Oh the Joy!

  1. Let the benighted nota bene:

    No one is beyond the reach of the all-powerful Darwintern!

  2. Minorities can sue if a company won’t deal with them, so maybe there’s something to it.

    If the prospective job was other than a pitch man, I’d agree. Religious views on AGW would not be a valid reason to not-hire someone for secretary, or analyst, or stockboy, or what have you. However, its is very difficult to see how he’s going to make a case that his the public perception of him is not relevant to the job of (bringing in) publicity.

    Of course, it goes both ways. If Wheaties didn’t want to hire Dawkins as a bench top biologist because he’s atheist, that’s wrong. But if they didn’t want to put Dawkins on the cover of their box because of his religious or political views, I’d be inclined to say that’s their choice.

  3. eric notes: “But if they didn’t want to put Dawkins on the cover of their box because of his religious or political views, I’d be inclined to say that’s their choice.”

    Agreed — but I think that’s a pity. “Wheaties, the Breakfast of Blasphemers!” would have been some fun advertising!

  4. Ceteris Paribus

    Tiger Woods lost plenty of multi million dollar advertising contracts based on Woods’ “personal viewpoint on marriage”. Maybe the Discovery Institute will write a blog article in his defense?

  5. If Stein wins his suit, or they settle, the DI will no doubt claim another win for intelligent design, despite the fact that the case had nothing to do with ID.

    Since the Discoveroids also support global warming skepticism, and believe the issue “is being used to justify a Left-leaning takeover of the worldwide economy”, I’m curious why they appear to be attempting to shift the focus to ID. (see at bottom of page for the quote) This would have been the perfect opportunity to attack that left-leaning evil conspiracy.

  6. Irving Schwartz

    Let’s see … intelligent design is science. Except if someone gets fired because of their views on intelligent design – then suddenly that’s discrimination based on religion. Right.

  7. Kyocera wanted Stein as a pitchman because they thought he was seen as a *smart* economist, which is why Comcast was using him (along with Shaq) in ads.

    Stein has now become identified with views that a substantial portion of the public thinks is not too smart. Of course Kyocera doesn’t want him as their spokesman.

    He could still get work doing commercials for Ken Ham’s Creation Museum.