Two companies owned by media entrepreneur Byron Allen have sued McDonald’s Corp for at least $10 billion. In the case, the companies accused the fast-food chain of engaging in racial discrimination as it did not allot enough advertisements to media outlets owned by black people.
The “racial animus and racial stereotyping” in allocating ad dollars of McDonald’s amounted to violation of McDonald’s, said the complaint that was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
There was refusal of McDonald’s of putting up advertisements with Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks, which is the owner of a number of lifestyle channels, as well as for Weather Group, that owns The Weather Channel, – both of which are owned by Allen, according to the complaint.
McDonald’s allocated less than $5 million of its $1.6 billion U.S. ad budget in 2019 to Black-owned media even though about 40 per cent of the McDonald’s customers was comprised of Blacks, the complaint said.
“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 said.
The day when this case was filed, the fact food chain had said that it would increase its ad spending on Black-owned media from 2 per cent to 5 per cent by 2024 while also spending more on Hispanic-, Asian-American, women- and LGBTQ-owned platforms.
“We have doubled down on our relationships with diverse-owned partners,” McDonald’s said in a statement. The company said it will “review and respond accordingly” to Allen’s lawsuit.
Last year, following publishing of full-page newspaper ads accusing the United States based automaker General Motors of ignoring Black-owned media by Allen and other entrepreneurs, the automaker promised to increase advertisements on such media in April last year.
Cases had also been filed in 2015 over refusal to carry Allen’s channels against Comcast Corp and demanded damages of $20 billion. Allen is a former stand-up comic and co-host of the NBC reality TV show “Real People”. He decided to settle the case in June last year following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to side with Comcast with relation to its leaving a large burden on Allen to prove that Comcast had discriminated against him.
(Adapted from NDTV.com)