Byron Allen’s Media Group Sues McDonald’s–Again–Claims Fraud and False Promises

Byron Allen’s Media Group Sues McDonald’s–Again–Claims Fraud and False Promises

Byron Allen is not playing any games with McDonald’s.

According to Reuters, Allen’s company, Allen Media Group, has filed a second lawsuit against the Big Mac conglomerate for $100 million, claiming McDonald’s committed two years ago to spend 2% of a billion-dollar advertising budget with Black-owned media – increasing to 5% by 2024.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter movement, McDonald’s, along with other corporations, vowed to work with numerous Black-owned businesses, but AMG claims the promise misled the public about its commitment to spend with Black-owned media companies. The lawsuit says, “the minimal pledge is a reflection of its culture,” highlighting numerous racial discrimination lawsuits from franchisees, employees, and suppliers.

Reportedly, 55% of McDonald’s shareholders voted for a civil rights audit. “During the Black Lives Matter movement, hundreds of corporations made pledges to Black America, and unfortunately, they have not lived up to them,” Allen said.

“McDonald’s is one of those corporations that has lied and made false promises. We must hold each and every one these corporations, including McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski, who was caught sending racist text messages, and its Board of Directors, fully accountable.”

The lawsuit says the “plan” was and is a lie as AMG claims McDonald’s is only spending “de minimis amounts” with it—the country’s largest African American-owned media company. With the amount of money McDonald’s was spending with AMG in 2021 at the beginning of the pledge, the suit says there’s “no way” McDonald’s was spending 2% of its advertising budget with Black-owned media.

According to Reuters, in a statement, McDonald’s said, “It was proud of its record of investing in diverse communities and partners and dismissed Allen’s claims and vowed to fight the lawsuit. “Byron Allen files baseless lawsuits as part of a public smear campaign against our company to try to line his pockets,” it said. “We will not be coerced by these ‘in terrorem’ tactics and will defend ourselves vigorously.”

Counsel for Allen Media Group, Skip Miller of Miller Barondess L.L.P., says this lawsuit is key in holding corporations accountable to their promises. “This is a groundbreaking lawsuit based on a California law—Civil Code 1711—that holds corporations to their public promises and thereby redresses corporate fraud. That’s exactly this case,” Miller said. “Per our lawsuit, this is a fraud on our client and on the public. The lawsuit seeks to hold one of the largest corporations in the world responsible for its lies.”

AMG is also seeking punitive damages and a permanent injunction requiring McDonald’s to honor the commitment and spend at least 5% of its ad budget with Black-owned media with full transparency.

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