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Toby Keith’s ‘American Ride’ Upsets Family in Famous McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit

Toby Keith
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Toby Keith’s music has earned him plenty of fans, and a few critics. One group who are speaking out against the outspoken singer is the family of Stella Liebeck, the woman who was famously burned by hot coffee at McDonald’s in 1992, and allegedly walked away with millions of dollars after suing the franchise.

Keith cited the story in his 2009 hit, ‘American Ride.’  Listing different examples of what he perceived as injustices in the country, he stated, “Spill a cup of coffee / Make a million dollars” in the lyric.

The reality, Liebeck’s family and lawyers attest, is much different than what the media has portrayed. While the story was widely circulated that the then 79-year-old placed the coffee in her lap while she was driving, the truth, according to court papers, is that she was sitting in the passenger seat in a parked car when the hot liquid spilled onto her, causing third-degree burns and requiring a lengthy hospital stay. Liebeck tried to settle with McDonald’s multiple times before the case went to trial. Her injuries required extensive skin grafting.

Liebeck, who passed away in 2004, received less than $600,000 — a far cry from the millions of dollars she was rumored to have received. But while the family understands how the fallacies circulated, they do take issue with the country singer for capitalizing on their loved one’s pain and suffering.

“I like Toby Keith but he did the ‘American Ride,’” Liebeck’s daughter states. “Do we have to keep living this over and over and over again?”

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