Media mogul Byron Allen isn’t happy with fast food company McDonald’s and isn’t loving how they handle some of their advertising practices. Allen filed a $10 billion lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp. (Courtesy Photo)
By Michael “Ice-Blue” Harris
Rolling Out via NNPA
(NNPA Newswire) – Media mogul Byron Allen isn’t happy with fast food company McDonald’s and isn’t loving how they handle some of their advertising practices. Allen filed a $10 billion lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp. on May 27, accusing the Big Mac maker of racial discrimination for not advertising enough with Black-owned media outlets.
The complaint, filed against the fast-food chain in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims McDonald’s violated federal and state civil rights laws through its alleged “racial animus and racial stereotyping” in allocating ad dollars, according to Reuters.
Allen alleges that Chicago-based McDonald’s has refused to advertise with his Entertainment Studios Networks, which owns several Black audience targeted lifestyle channels, or his Weather Group, which owns The Weather Channel. Allen’s suit also revealed that African Americans comprise about 40 percent of McDonald’s customers, but the company devoted less than $5 million of its $1.6 billion U.S. ad budget in 2019 to Black-owned media.
“McDonald’s, like much of corporate America these days, publicly touts its commitment to diversity and inclusion, but this is nothing more than empty rhetoric,” the complaint stated.
Ironically, the television mogul sued McDonald’s on the same day the company announced it would boost its national ad spending with Black-owned media to 5 percent from 2 percent by the year 2024. They also promised to spend more on Hispanic, Asian-American, women, and LGBTQ-owned platforms.
“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy,” Allen wrote in an open letter. “McDonald’s takes billions from African American consumers and gives almost nothing back. The biggest trade deficit in America is the trade deficit between White corporate America and Black America, and McDonald’s is guilty of perpetuating this disparity. The economic exclusion must stop immediately.”
This is not the first time Allen has taken on a corporate giant in court. In 2015, he sued Comcast Corp. for $20 billion over its refusal to carry his channels. The lawsuit was settled in June 2020, three months after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Comcast in setting a high burden for the entertainment executive to prove he was the victim of discrimination.