One of the most recognizable names in the breakfast industry, Aunt Jemima, has been the face of some of the most popular Quaker Oats products for more than a century. But according to Aunt Jemima's family, the nationally known image was stolen.
D.W. Hunter - the great-grandson of Anna Short Harrington, whose likeness allegedly became "Aunt Jemima" - filed a class action lawsuit for a whopping $2 billion on behalf of all of Harrington's great grandkids. (Video via Food Network)
The suit is filed against Quaker Oats, its parent company Pepsi Co. and all related subsidiaries.
According to The Wrap, Hunter alleges that "the companies conspired to deny that Harrington had been an employee of Quaker Oats, all the while exploiting her image and recipes for profit, while refusing to pay an 'equitable fair share of royalties' to her heirs for more than 60 years."
The lawsuit also claims that the Quaker Oats company lied about having employment records acknowledging Harrington worked for them, even after the company was sent a death certificate that listed the company as Harrington's employer.
The Quaker Oats company website does not list Anna Harrington at all on its "History of Aunt Jemima" webpage, instead saying the image was "brought to life" by Nancy Green in 1890 and Anna Robinson in 1933.
The lawsuit however pulls information from two books written on the history of the famous brand, which, if true, detail in length Harrington's contribution to the brand.
"The northern mill's pancakes and Aunt Jemima's originals were taste-tested side-by-side, and "no one could see or taste a difference between them.'"
Quaker Oats told the Chicago Tribune it does not believe the lawsuit carries any merit at all.
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