Respect Diversity + Inclusion

Media mogul Byron Allen sues McDonald’s for $10 billion over racial allegations

getty: Byron Allen

Story at a glance

  • The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Entertainment Studios Networks Inc. and Weather Group LLC, both of which are owned by Allen, who is Black.
  • The complaint alleges “McDonald’s intentionally discriminated against Entertainment Studios and Weather Group through a pattern of racial stereotyping and refusals to contract,” in violation of federal and state law.
  • The complaint also says McDonald’s spends less than $5 million of its $1.6 billion annual television ad budget on Black-owned media.

McDonald’s has been hit with a $10 billion lawsuit by two companies owned by media mogul Byron Allen, alleging the fast-food giant has engaged in racial discrimination in its ad spending. 

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Entertainment Studios Networks Inc. and Weather Group LLC, both of which are owned by Allen, who is Black. 


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Entertainment Studios owns 12 television networks and the Weather Group owns The Weather Channel and Local Now. 

The complaint alleges “McDonald’s intentionally discriminated against Entertainment Studios and Weather Group through a pattern of racial stereotyping and refusals to contract,” in violation of federal and state law.

The lawsuit argues McDonald’s has refused to advertise on Entertainment Studios networks or The Weather Channel since Allen acquired the companies in 2018 even though the company “purchased significant advertising on similarly situated, white-owned networks.” 

The complaint also says McDonald’s spends less than $5 million of its $1.6 billion annual television ad budget on Black-owned media, despite African Americans making up some 40 percent of its sales. 

“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy,” Allen said in a statement

“McDonalds takes billions from African American consumers and gives almost nothing back. The biggest trade deficit in America is the trade deficit between White corporate American and Black America, and McDonald’s is guilty of perpetuating this disparity,” he said. 

The lawsuit was filed the same day McDonald’s said it would increase its national ad spending with Black-owned media from 2 percent to 5 percent by 2024. It will also boost ad spending on Hispanic, Asian American, female and LGBTQ-owned platforms. 

The fast-food chain said it will “review and respond accordingly” to the lawsuit. 


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