McDonald's is preparing to defend itself in a $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit filed by media mogul Byron Allen and his company Allen Media Group.
A federal court gave the go-ahead for Allen and his company to attempt to prove in court that the fast-food giant violated civil rights laws by allegedly relegating his TV networks to an "African American tier" with a smaller advertising budget, according to a press release from Allen.
Allen claims that only a small portion (around $5 million) of McDonald's annual $1.6 billion ad budget is allocated to Black-owned media companies. He says McDonald's has "refused to advertise" on his networks.
Allen's company owns networks including The Weather Channel and Comedy.TV.
Allen said, “This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the US economy.” He said, “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.”
Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who is representing McDonald's in the case, said that the evidence will show that McDonald's does not discriminate and calls Allen's claims "meritless."
Lynch said, “Their complaint is about revenue, not race, and plaintiffs’ groundless allegations ignore both McDonald’s legitimate business reasons for not investing more on their channels and the company’s long-standing business relationships with many other diverse-owned partners.”
A former Obama-era Attorney General, Lynch is now working in private practice with the law firm Paul Weiss.