By Brian Tracey Associate editor
msnbc.com
updated 1/3/2008 6:47:33 PM ET 2008-01-03T23:47:33
COMMENTARY

This is weighty matter: A 265-pound man says a Louisiana restaurant overcharged him for his trips to the buffet, then banned him and a relative because of how much they consumed during their visits.

Ricky Labit, a 6-foot-3 disabled offshore worker, said he had been a regular at the Manchuria Restaurant located in Houma, eating there as often as three times a week. But on his most recent visit, he said a waitress gave him and his wife's cousin, Michael Borrelli, a bill for $46.40, roughly double the buffet price for two adults.

"She says, 'Y'all fat, and y'all eat too much,'" Labit said.

Labit and Borrelli said they felt discriminated against because of their size.

"I was stunned, that somebody would say something like that. I ain't that fat, I only weigh 277," Borrelli said.

Accountant Thomas Campo, who spoke for the restaurant because the owner's English is limited, said the men were charged an extra $10 each on Dec. 21 because they made a habit of dining exclusively on the more expensive seafood dishes, including crab legs and frog legs.

The argument over the bill grew heated, and police were called. The police report states that the disagreement was settled when the restaurant said the bill was a mistake and, to appease Labit, the meal was complimentary.

Labit said he insisted on paying but was told not to come back.

"We have a lot of big people there," Campo said. "We don't discriminate."

Just as long as the diners don't eat into the profits, apparently.

Model: My ad is bad
A model who says she has worked hard to maintain a wholesome image has filed a $5 million lawsuit complaining that a jewelry company's video advertisement in which she writhes and moans looks pornographic.

The commercial, seen on various Internet video-sharing sites entitled "Rock Her World," shows a woman wearing blue lacy lingerie and a diamond necklace while moaning and stroking her face and neck. It ends with the Web address for the jewelry company, Szul.com.

The 37-year-old woman claims in her lawsuit that she did not "consent to or authorize the use of her likeness, picture, image or name to simulate a female having an orgasm or otherwise experiencing sexual pleasure."

"Indeed, the music to the commercial is bump-and-grind burlesque type music, which further provides the advertisement with a decidedly pornographic look, feel and sound," states the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Manhattan's state Supreme Court.

The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, says in court papers she won the role in the commercial for Szul Jewelry Inc. in November. She says the idea was that an average guy would get a woman excited by putting a necklace on her.

Three-fourths of the filming of the commercial, shot Nov. 9 by Q2 Entertainment in a studio in Queens, involved a comedic story line, but the woman later was told to sit and feign excitement for a few seconds while the young man put the necklace on her, the lawsuit says.

After that scene, the court papers say, the director told her to fake excitement while lying down, without smiling.

"He asked her to keep repeating the action until he thought he got the most authentic looking film piece," they say.

The plaintiff, who is a married graduate student in elementary education, "has worked hard to project a wholesome image and has been extremely careful to avoid doing any work in the industry that would cheapen or tarnish her reputation," the lawsuit states.

Yes, maintaining your integrity while in working in the fashion and advertising industries is no small task.

Dank destination
China is going to create a tourist resort in a giant cave used by the former Nationalist government as a secret aircraft factory during World War Two, the official Xinhua news agency said this week.

The Haikong cave, deserted by the Nationalists in 1949, is in the verdant mountains near the southwestern city and wartime capital of Chongqing. The subterranean space will cost about 500 million yuan ($68 million) to develop, the report said.

The cave is "an ideal place for conferences and leisure travel," it said, citing the local investment bureau's Web site.

"The enshrouded cave is 50 meters (164 feet) high and as spacious as a giant conference hall," Xinhua added. "The tourist bureau said that the manufacturing plant could be developed into a loft art workshop."

We predict the first groups to book the resort will be the Batman comics collectors' convention and the World Spelunking Society.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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