McDonald’s Corp was sued on Thursday for at least $10 billion by 2 companies owned by media entrepreneur Byron Allen, who accused the fast-food chain of racial discrimination for not advertising enough with Black-owned media outlets.
The complaint lodged in Los Angeles County Superior Court said the fast-food chain breached federal and state civil rights laws through its “racial animus and racial stereotyping” in allocating ad dollars.
Chicago-based McDonald’s has refused to advertise with Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks, which owns multiple lifestyle channels, or his Weather Group, which owns The Weather Channel, according to the complaint.
It also said Blacks constitute nearly 40% of McDonald’s customers, but the company devoted less than $5 million of its $1.6 billion U.S. ad budget in 2019 to Black-owned media.
The complaint added that “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.”
In a statement, McDonald’s said: “We have doubled down on our relationships with diverse-owned partners.” It noted that it will “review and respond accordingly” to Allen’s lawsuit.