McDonald’s Corp has been sued for at least $10 billion by two companies owned by Byron Allen, a media entrepreneur, who has accused it of racial discrimination since it does not advertise enough with Black-owned media outlets.
According to the lawsuit filed with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, McDonald’s violated federal and state civil rights laws through its “racial animus and racial stereotyping” in allocating ad dollars.
The complaint said, McDonald’s has refused to advertise with Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks. It went on to add, while Blacks comprise around 40% of McDonald’s customers, 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,” said the complaint.
On the same day, McDonald’s issued a statement saying it would boost its national ad spending with Black-owned media to 5%, up from 2% by 2024; also it would spend more on Hispanics, Asian-American, women, and LGBTQ-owned platforms.
“We have doubled down on our relationships with diverse-owned partners,” said McDonald’s in a statement while adding, it will “review and respond accordingly” to Allen’s lawsuit.
A former stand-up comic and co-host of the NBC reality TV show “Real People,” in 2015 Allen had also sued Comcast Corp for $20 billion over its refusal to carry his channels.
After the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Comcast, Allen settled the lawsuit in June after the highest court set a high burden for Allen to prove he was discriminated against.