Byron Allen‘s $10 Billion Suit Against McDonald's Dismissed

Byron Allen
Byron Allen

Byron Allen’s $10 billion lawsuit charging that McDonald’s discriminated against his Black-owned media company by not buying ads from it was dismissed by a federal judge Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Fernando Olguin said Allen’s companies did not offer enough evidence to show that the fast-food chain “intentionally and purposefully discriminated against them.”

Allen’s lawyers said they would be back with more evidence.

“At the invitation of Judge Olguin, we will amend the complaint to add greater detail,” said Skip Miller, partner at the Los Angeles law firm Miller Barondess. “And when we do so, we firmly believe that the case will go forward.“

Allen’s Allen Media Group owns The Weather Channel, the Entertainment Studios cable channels and a group of TV stations.

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Allen claimed that McDonald’s refused to advertise on his cable networks. Of the $1.6 billion McDonald’s spends on TV advertising, less than $5 million goes to Black-owned media, the suit said.

After the suit was filed in May, McDonald’s said it plans in increase the ad dollars it spends with diverse-owned media companies from 4% to 10% by 2024. Spending with Black-owned properties will increase from 2% to 5%.

Last month, Allen called on McDonald's to fire CEO Chris Kempczinski. Allen accused Kempczinski of fostering a racist culture at the burger chain following an incident in which Kempczinski sent a text message to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the shooting deaths of two children in the city. In the text message, he said the parents had “failed those kids.” ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.