McDonald’s to face $10B race discrimination suit from Byron Allen

McDonald’s and media mogul Byron Allen will face off in court next year over Allen’s $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit, a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled.

The case — in which the comedian turned media mogul accuses McDonald’s of deliberately choosing not to advertise with black-owned media outlets, including his AMG Entertainment Studios and Weather Group — has been simmering for more than a year.

Allen’s complaint alleges that McDonald’s gives less than $5 million of its $1.6 billion annual television advertising budget to black-owned media despite the fact that black consumers represent about 40% of McDonald’s US sales.

In December, Allen’s case was dismissed by US District Judge Fernando Olguin, but Allen amended the suit and it was reinstated shortly thereafter. Last week, Judge Olguin denied McDonald’s motion to dismiss the case again.

Byron Allen at a podium.
Allen is the founder and chairman of Allen Media Group, which owns the Weather Group.
Getty Images for Allen Media Gro

The court’s latest decision “has nothing whatsoever to do with the merits of the case, but simply allows Mr. Allen to continue to try, as he has for more than a year now, to substantiate his speculative and conclusive claims,” legal counsel Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “We believe the evidence will show that there was no discrimination and that Entertainment Studios’ claims are meritless.”

McDonald’s was also sued in 2020 by dozens of black-owned franchisees who claimed that the company relegates them to poor neighborhoods. McDonald’s denied the allegations and the complaint was dismissed last year. McDonald’s shareholders recently voted to hire a third party firm to investigate McDonald’s for civil rights violations.

“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the US economy,” Allen said in a statement. “McDonald’s takes billions from African American consumers and gives almost nothing back.”

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