Media entrepreneur Byron Allen has filed a second lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp over the fast-food chain’s alleged refusal to advertise in Black-owned media.
In a complaint filed last week in Los Angeles, Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks Inc and Weather Group LLC said McDonald’s “lied” when it promised in May 2021 to increase its national ad spending to Black-owned media to 5% from 2% by 2024.
Related: Black Media Mogul Allen Alleges Advertising Bias in Suing McDonald’s for $10 Billion
Allen said he will know if McDonald’s is keeping that promise 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 turned down.
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 that says McDonald’s ad practices amount to “racial stereotyping” that violates federal and California civil rights laws.
In a statement, McDonald’s said it is proud of its record of investment in diverse communities and partners.
“Byron Allen filed baseless lawsuits as part of a public campaign against our company to line his pockets,” it said. “We will not be forced into ‘in terrorem’ tactics and will defend ourselves vigorously.”
Allen said in his own statement: “During the Black Lives Matter movement, hundreds of corporations made promises to Black America….McDonald’s was one of the corporations that lied and made false promises.
In an April 21 court filing, McDonald’s lawyers said mediation to settle Allen’s $10 billion lawsuit was unsuccessful, and accused Allen of trying to “harass and harangue McDonald’s into an inappropriate resolution.”
McDonald’s cited an open letter Allen posted in the Chicago Tribune on April 19, a day before the scheduled speeches, attacking what it said was “horrendous systemic racism against Black people.”
The letter also called for the replacement of Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski and McDonald’s board of directors.
Skip Miller, an attorney for Allen, in an interview declined to discuss the mediation but called McDonald’s filing “completely inappropriate. The point of the mediation is that it remains confidential.”
The case is: Weather Group LLC et al v. McDonald’s USA LLC, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, No. 23STCV10045; and Entertainment Studios Networks Inc et al v McDonald’s Corp, US District Court, Central District of California, No. 21-04972.
Photo: Comedian and media mogul Byron Allen poses for a photo in Los Angeles in 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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