The great grandchildren of Anna Short Harrington, the face of the Aunt Jemima brand, are suing Quaker Oats, their parent company PepsiCo, and Pinnacle Foods Group for $2 billion.
D.W. Hunter and Larnell Evans, Harrington’s great grandsons, filed the class action suit claiming the companies, who all sell different forms of Aunt Jemima products, have refused to pay an “equitable fair share of royalties” to their family for more than 60 years. Court documents say that Harrington portrayed the character in commercials and other public appearances for 15 years. It also says that Quaker Oats used her pancake recipes and trademarked her likeness as Aunt Jemima in 1937.
Hunter and Evans are accusing the companies of conspiring together to deny Harrington ever worked for them, telling her family that they couldn’t find any pictures or record of her employment. The defendants say they now have the proof they need to prove the companies’ claims to be false, including Harrington’s death certificate that lists Quaker Oats as her employer and an image on file at the United States Patent and Trademark.
The suit also accuses Quaker Oats of using industrial spies to wrongfully take Harrington’s pancake recipes.
PepsiCo has not commented on the suit, according to CNN Money.