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Scalding McDonalds coffee went from media uproar to cultural legend

Not Just a Hot Cup Anymore

It’s been 20 years since Stella Liebeck sued McDonalds over dangerously hot coffee. In a New York Times Retro Report video, communication professor John Llewellyn talks about how the facts of the case were lost in the media uproar. “This is the most widely misunderstood story in America,” says Llewellyn. “The public perception of it is Stella Leibeck won the lottery. She bought the coffee. She spilled it on herself, and now she’s a millionaire, but of course the facts are much more complicated.”

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