Hey! Hey! Hey! Former AIG Counsel Sues Over Fat Albert Jokes

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on May 09, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A former in-house attorney is suing insurance giant AIG over allegedly racist in-house jokes that likened him to the 1970s cartoon character Fat Albert.

"Hey! Hey! Hey!" was the title character's catch phrase on "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," a Saturday morning cartoon that ran from 1972 to the mid-1980s. Comedian Bill Cosby voiced Fat Albert, an obese black kid who ended each episode with a rock song.

But when uttered in the workplace, "Hey! Hey! Hey!" took on a totally different and offensive tone, the former assistant general counsel's Fat Albert lawsuit asserts.

Earl Brown, 43, filed a civil-rights lawsuit against AIG and his former boss, attorney John Hornbostel, the New York Post reports.

Hornbostel, 49, allegedly taunted Brown for years about being overweight, and insultingly compared Brown to the obese cartoon character, Brown's Fat Albert lawsuit claims.

Hornbostel, who is white, allegedly yelled out "Hey! Hey! Hey! It's Fat Albert!' upon seeing Brown, who is black, according to the Post.

Brown's suit claims his ex-boss also blurted out during a meeting: "Make sure you grab a bite to eat before this one does! He's been known to clean out a Danish platter," the Post reports.

Hornbostel then hummed the "Fat Albert" theme tune, the lawsuit claims.

A joke, perhaps -- but Brown wasn't laughing. His lawsuit claims he was fired without cause, according to the Post.

The Fat Albert lawsuit's details about Brown's alleged racial and weight harassment also suggest he may be alleging a hostile work environment. The Post's report, however, doesn't say what damages Brown is seeking, or what Brown's causes of action are. Neither Brown's ex-boss nor AIG could be reached for comment, the Post reports.

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