The Real Reason Sarah Michelle Gellar Was Named In A McDonald's Lawsuit

In the early 1980s, the burger battles between rival fast-food chains Burger King and McDonald's were sizzling. Both restaurants were competing for the same segment of the convenient burger market, and they weren't above using aggressive tactics to win over those customers. In 1982, Burger King was the first to go on the offensive and name McDonald's directly in a commercial that starred a five-year-old Sarah Michelle Gellar.

In the ad, Burger King claimed that McDonald's used 20 percent less meat in their burgers, as well as boasted that they flame-broiled their burgers, while their competitor fried their meat. Despite rumors claiming otherwise, this wasn't actually the first time a company had ever called out their competitor by name in a televised commercial, but it was the first time one of the big burger chains addressed their rivals so directly, according to HuffPost. McDonald's didn't take kindly to the attack, and they retaliated with a lawsuit.

Sarah Michelle Gellar had to testify about 'misleading' claims

McDonald's filed an injunction in federal court to prevent further Burger King ads from airing. The injunction was denied, but McDonald's continued their legal battle, suing Burger King for making what they felt were misleading claims in the ad. The burger giant even named young Gellar, the child star of the offending commercial, in the lawsuit. She was forced to testify on the claims she made while acting in the commercial, including the statement "that's why I eat at Burger King instead of McDonald's."

Burger King eventually settled out of court, but the fact that Gellar had been named in the lawsuit ended up leading to rumors that Gellar had been banned from McDonald's. However, Gellar was never actually banned, just uncomfortable showing her face in the burger restaurant after the lawsuit debacle. 

In a 2004 Sunday Express interview, Gellar clarified: "Banned is a strong word...When I was five I did a commercial for Burger King. McDonald's were so outraged, they sued Burger King and named me in the lawsuit. I wasn't allowed to eat there. It was tough because, when you're a little kid, McDonald's is where all your friends have their birthday parties, so I missed out on a lot of apple pies." Luckily for Gellar, time heals all wounds, so she can now enjoy all the McDonald's burgers and apple pies she wants – that is, unless she still prefers Burger King.