Advertising: The Perks Of A Hostile Work Environm

Since making his acquaintance with America two weeks ago, 6-foot-7, 330-pound actor Lester Speight--a.k.a. Terry Tate, a.k.a. the Office Linebacker, a.k.a. the really big dude who pancakes unsuspecting Dilberts in that Reebok ad--has become a star. The hilarious campaign, which debuted during the Super Bowl, is about a company that hires Tate to pummel employees whenever they dawdle after lunch or forget to put a cover sheet on faxes. After the game, fans overran Reebok's Web site, hoping to rewatch it. (A new spot aired during "American Idol" last week.) Part of the ads' appeal is that Tate's tackles look so real. That's because they are. "I can testify from personal experience that he's actually hitting people," says Micky Pant, Reebok's chief marketing officer, who got clocked by Speight at the company's global conference last fall. "He hit me so hard I was bleeding."

So who is this guy? Sadly, PERI's attempts to talk to Speight, who also performs under the name "the Mighty Rasta," were rebuffed by Reebok. According to a spokeswoman, Mr. Rasta has gotten so huge that his "busy schedule does not allow for further interviews." Too bad, because PERI had a few questions about the bio on his Web site, mightyrasta.com. It claims Speight enjoyed "a brief stint" with pro football's New York Giants; in fact, he was drafted as a replacement during the NFL players' strike in 1987. The site also claims that the thespian has "enjoyed nearly 17 years" as one of Hollywood's "most sought-after action actors." Hollywood evidently had as much trouble tracking him down as we did. After his debut in Robert Townsend's 1993 film "Meteor Man," Speight didn't get another credit until 1999's "Any Given Sunday." He played a security guard.

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