Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group filed a lawsuit against the McDonald’s Corporation to the tune of $10 billion for racial discrimination.
According to the lawsuit, McDonald’s intentionally discriminated against group divisions Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. and Weather Group, LLC through a pattern of racial stereotyping and refusals to contract.
The fast-food chain spends approximately $1.6 billion on annual television advertising. However, McDonald’s spends less than $5 million each year on African American-owned media.
Allen owns and operates 12 high-definition television networks over 60 multi-channel video programming distributors carry. Networks include Comcast, AT&T U-Verse, Charter/Spectrum, DISH Network, DirecTV, AT&T Now, and Verizon FIOS.
McDonald’s has allegedly refused to advertise on Entertainment Studios networks or The Weather Channel since Allen acquired the network in 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that the refusal to contract is the result of racial stereotyping. It cites McDonald’s tiered advertising structure that differentiates based on race.
The primary advertising tier for McDonald’s, the “general market,” swallows up the vast majority of McDonald’s advertising budget McDonald’s. However, created a separate “African American” tier with a much smaller budget and less-favorable pricing and other terms.
African Americans represent roughly 40% of McDonald’s U.S. sales.
“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy,” says Allen.
“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,” he adds. “McDonald’s is guilty of perpetuating this disparity. The economic exclusion must stop immediately.”
“As alleged in the complaint, McDonald’s has engaged in pernicious racial discrimination in violation of federal and state law,” said attorney Skip Miller. “I am confident the jury will recognize the injustice that has occurred here and award significant damages. We are looking forward to our day in court.”