Business school students probably recognize business professor Peter Morici by his dated bow ties and large wire-framed glasses. He even graced cable TV over the summer as a spokesman for Kyocera-brand copy machines and printers, sporting his signature look.
But unfortunately for Kyocera, the economist’s fashion flair provoked the wrath of Ben Stein, the monotone economics teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Stein — whose slew of other credits include America’s Most Smartest Model, Game Show Moments Gone Bananas and Clear Eyes commercials — sued Kyocera earlier this month, alleging the “impersonation” breached his own contract with the company and caused emotional distress, according to Reuters. Stein apparently alleged that Kyocera executives replaced him in the ad because of his views on global warming.
According to his university biography, Morici directed the U.S. International Trade Commission’s Office of Economics and penned 18 books and monographs — scholarly articles on a single topic, in wonk-terms.
But that credibility is little match for Stein, who starred “in a famous scene in a famous movie and really is an economist,” the lawsuit states. Stein is seeking $300,000 — the price tag for his original contract — in addition to “attorney fees, court costs and punitive damages,” Reuters reports.
Although Morici declined to comment on the case or his acting chops, he said he didn’t receive a makeover before appearing on screen.
“Let me just say, I look in the commercial as I have on TV for many years (bow tie and all),” he wrote in an email. “You need only do a google video search to verify.”
— Rebecca Lurye