Media entrepreneur Byron Allen, 62, has filed a second lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp over the fast-food chain’s alleged refusal to advertise with Black-owned media.
The complaint was filed last week in Los Angeles, Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks Inc and Weather Group LLC said McDonald’s “lied” when it pledged in May 2021 to boost national ad spending with Black-owned media to 5% from 2% by 2024.
Allen said he would know if McDonald’s were honoring that pledge because his Allen Media Group represents more than 90% of Black-owned media. He said he relied on McDonald’s pledge when seeking new business from the company, only to be rebuffed. The lawsuit seeks $100 million plus punitive damages for McDonald’s alleged violation of a California anti-fraud law against making false promises. Allen’s case is in addition to his $10 billion federal lawsuit against McDonald’s saying their ad practices amount to “racial stereotyping” and violates federal and California civil rights laws.
McDonald’s released a statement saying they are proud of its record of investing in diverse communities and partners. “Bryon Allen files baseless lawsuits as part of a public smear campaign against our company to try to line his pockets. We will not be coerced by these ‘in terrorem’ tactics and will defend ourselves vigorously.”
Allen said in his own statement: “During the Black Lives Matter movement, hundreds of corporations made pledges to Black America…. McDonald’s is one of those corporations that has lied and made false promises.”
Skip Miller, a lawyer for Allen, in an interview declined to discuss the mediation but called McDonald’s filing “totally inappropriate. The point of mediation is that it remains confidential.”