'American Hustle' Microwave Lawsuit Won't Go Away

Not just a boring movie, a defamatory one too!

What does American Hustle, that pretentious David O. Russell movie from 2013, have to do with microwaves? Well for starters, there's a pretty memorable microwave scene in which Jennifer Lawrence's character, Rosalyn, lights her's on fire. Quick PSA, kids: Don't put aluminum foil in the microwave!

Here's the scene (NSFW language):

So after the fire, J-Law's character insists microwave ovens "take all of the nutrition out of our food" (not true). She even cites an article by Paul Brodeur. That article is imaginary but the author is real. Paul Brodeur is an investigative science writer who wouldn't be caught dead making scientifically unsupported claims like the one Lawrence's character does. So Brodeur sued the production company for defamation, to the tune of $1 million.

That was last year. You might think a suit like this is a long shot—we do, and so does Good Morning America (a vital source)—but the movie does mention Brodeur by name, and in fact Brodeur said exactly the opposite regarding the interaction between microwaves and nutrition back in 1978.

Now we've learned, just last month, that a judge has officially declined to dismiss the case on the defense's grounds of free speech, so the suit will—amazingly—go to trial.

The suit will—amazingly—go to trial. Tweet It

Defense attorney Louis Petrich said "reasonable persons would recognize that they are watching a 'screwball comedy' in which nothing the Rosalyn character says can be taken as fact." Brodeur's lawyer, Leon Friedman countered, writing "what the defense means is that any time a publisher or movie company wants to defame a living person, all they have to do is present a 'ditzy' person who can say anything about that person without any concern for possible legal action in the future. The 'ditzy' defense cannot be decided at this stage of the proceeding. It is up to a jury to make such a determination."

Microwave ovens, of course, work by agitating water molecules in food, heating them up. That heat is conducted to other molecules, making your entire meal nice and warm. There is currently no evidence that microwave ovens affect nutrition in any way.

More on this wacky, microwave story as it develops.

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