Byron Allen’s $10 Billion Lawsuit Against McDonald’s To Start In May After Attempts To Dismiss Suit Fail

Byron Allen’s $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against McDonald’s will go to trial next May after the fast food giant tried and failed to have the suit dismissed three times.

The Chicago Crusader reports the trial is set for May 30, 2023, after Judge Fernando Olguin determined last month that McDonald’s failed to meet the bar to prove Allen’s Entertainment Studios made no reasonable claim for discrimination.

“McDonald’s apparent refusal to even offer terms for advertising on The Weather Channel makes little business sense given that The Weather Channel has higher ratings and wider distribution than the two [white-owned] comparator networks,” Olguin wrote in the dismissal.

Allen, the owner of the Allen Media Group, filed the $10 billion lawsuit alleging McDonald’s, which has an advertising budget of more than $1 billion, has refused to advertise on his networks and spends just $5 million advertising with Black media.

The suit also claims McDonald’s created an “African American Tier” with a smaller advertising budget where Allen’s TV networks have been categorized.

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has been sued for racial discrimination. In 2020, 52 Black former McDonald’s franchise owners filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming they faced “systematic and covert racial discrimination,” with McDonald’s denying them the same opportunities as their white counterparts. A federal judge recently dismissed the class-action lawsuit, but the plaintiffs have until Oct. 21 to file an appeal.

Last year, the burger chain bought 13 locations from former MLB player Herb Washington as part of a settlement in a racial discrimination lawsuit. Washington, who once owned more than 20 McDonald’s locations, sued the burger chain claiming it racially discriminated against him by having him purchase low-volume restaurants in Black neighborhoods and forcing him to downsize his base years later after grading his locations unfairly.

In a statement, Allen explained the motive for his lawsuit.

“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy,” Allen said in a statement according to the Crusader. “McDonald’s takes billions from African American consumers and gives almost nothing back. The biggest trade deficit in America is the trade deficit between white corporate America and Black America, and McDonald’s is guilty of perpetuating this disparity.”

Last year, McDonald’s said it would increase advertising with Black-owned companies from 2% to 5% of its total budget by 2024.

Allen has sued other large companies for their lack of Black advertising, including Comcast cable.