Byron Allen, the founder of Allen Media Group, which owns Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc, the parent firm of theGrio and the Weather Group, LLC, is suing McDonald’s for racial discrimination.
He claims McDonald’s does not offer the same treatment on advertising spending on his platforms as the company does with White-owned media, theGrio reported.
Allen, the comedian turned billionaire, claims that his and other Black-owned news media entities, like BLACK ENTERPRISE or Roland Martin’s Nu Vision Media, are being shortchanged, only receiving $5 million out of a spending budget of about $1.6 billion on ads.
To put this in perspective, McDonald’s has an annual revenue of $100 billion, and franchises are dependent on Black communities looking for cheap and convenient food, according to Slate. It is also worth noting CEO Chris Kempcsinski’s $11 million annual salary is greater than the budget used to advertise to arguably McDonald’s best demographic.
“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy,” Allen wrote in an open letter, which was signed by several Black media executives, including Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., the president and CEO of BLACK ENTERPRISE. “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. The economic exclusion must stop immediately.”
“Chris, the very definition of systemic racism is when you are ignored, excluded and you do not have true economic inclusion. Black-owned media companies have become extinct from the lack of ad support from companies like McDonald’s,” Allen added, addressing Kempcsinski.
In his letter, the mogul said the Black news executives pointed out this issue “of economic exclusion and systemic racism” to McDonald’s chief marketing officer at time, but “the issue was ignored and not corrected.”
“We are not surprised that both Black employees/executives as well as the Black franchisees are suing McDonald’s for racial discrimination and unfair treatment. And now you are being sued for $10 billion by Black-owned media. Why?? Because we all firmly believe the culture at McDonald’s is racist and very toxic,” the letter continues.