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Kool-Aid Man Sues Kraft Over Years Of Head Trauma
HASTINGS, Neb. (CAP) - A lawsuit filed in Adams County District Court on behalf of '70s and '80s beverage icon Kool-Aid Man alleges that Kraft Foods, Inc. knew of the dangers associated with his trademark wall-crashing but buried medical evidence that suggested there could be long-term effects from the constant head trauma. The lawsuit seeks $2.1 million in damages.
"Kraft Foods, like the sport of boxing, was aware of the health risks associated with repetitively crashing through walls producing sub-concussive and concussive results and the fact that Kool-Aid Man was at significant risk of developing long-term brain damage and cognitive decline as a result," the complaint charges.
According to court documents, Kool-Aid Man was diagnosed with dementia five years ago, his mental health declining substantially since then to the point where he needs assistance from his wife Lime-Aid just to get through each day. Friends of the Aid family who spoke with CAP News said the signs were there decades ago but nobody was any the wiser.
"We'd be on set for a commercial and Kool would come crashing through the wall on like his fifth take and instead of offering the kids on the playground a drink, he'd look around like he wasn't sure where he was and offer the boom operator a drink," said former Hawaiian Punch spokesperson Punchy.
"Or he'd think he was full of cherry and I'd be like, No, dude, you're orange," added Punchy. "And then when they started adding more complicated flavors like Purplesaurus Rex or Pink Swimmingo, Kool didn't even bother trying to keep up. He'd get this weird look of confusion and then just smile and say, Ohhh, yeah!"
Where Kool once delighted to be mobbed by fans and could often be seen skateboarding or on roller skates while also handing out sugary drinks to thirsty children, friends and family say now he spills all over the place because he can barely stand and hasn't spoken in years. His lawyers understand no amount of money can reverse what has befallen Kool, but they hope to make an example of Kraft and protect future pop culture icons.
"There's a generation of kids who no longer had to drink out of the garden hose because of Kool," said head counsel Andy Lambros. "Our goal is to ensure a generation of television advertising mascots no longer has to eat through a straw because of Kraft."
Also named in the lawsuit is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, whose creation in 1970 was intended to help curb the very type of exploitation suffered by Kool-Aid Man and others in similar situations. While Kraft's policy is not to discuss ongoing litigation, OSHA released a statement calling the lawsuit "vapid and unimaginative, much like those sugar-free Kool-Aid singles you get at Wal-Mart."
"The fact is that since he was first hired in 1975, Mr. Aid has renewed his contract multiple times," said OSHA spokesperson Kimberly Tucker. "We're not saying he shouldn't have been afforded some level of protection, but after that initial contract, he had to take some measure of responsibility for his own actions."
Attornies for Kool-Aid Man are expected to call on the 1987 decision from The Noid v Domino's Pizza as part of their argument. In that case, The Noid won a lawsuit against the pizza company for unpaid worker's compensation after suffering a concussion during the taping of a commercial in which he ran full speed into an invisible barrier that was placed over a hot pizza.
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