Lawsuit accuses McDonald’s of racially discriminatory ad spending
Two companies owned by media mogul Byron Allen have filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp., accusing the fast food giant of discriminating against black-owned media companies.
Entertainment Studios Networks Inc. and Weather Group LLC filed the lawsuit in California Superior Court, seeking $ 10 billion in damages. The lawsuit targets what the companies allege to be the restaurant chain’s “discriminatory contracting process and refusal to advertise on plaintiffs’ networks because of race.”
The lawsuit marks the latest move by Mr. Allen, who is black, to pressure large US corporations to spend more advertising dollars on black-owned media companies. Its Allen Media Group / Entertainment Studios produces films and owns over a dozen TV channels as well as the Weather Channel and 10 digital TV networks, such as Pets.TV and Cars.TV.
The lawsuit alleges McDonald’s spent around $ 1.6 billion on U.S. TV ads in 2019 and estimates that less than $ 5 million, or 0.31%, of that budget was spent on black-owned media. The complaint also alleges that McDonald’s has not advertised on Entertainment Studios’ lifestyle networks since their launch in 2009, but has purchased significant advertisements on networks owned by white people in the same situation.
Mr Allen previously called on advertisers to spend at least 2% of their budget on black-owned media companies, a target he later raised to 5%.