Hollywood Power Producer Byron Allen Sues McDonald’s for Racial Discrimination, Seeks $10 Million in Damages

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Byron Allen arrives at the Broadcasting & Cable Hall Of Fame In New York's Historic Ziegfeld Theatre on October 29, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Entertainment Studios / Allen Media Group)
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Entertainment Studios / Allen Media Group

Hollywood power producer and broadcast mogul Byron Allen is suing McDonald’s for alleged racial discrimination, and the entertainment executive is seeking $10 million in damages.

The lawsuit accuses McDonald’s of using a tiered advertising structure with a separate “African American” tier that has a smaller budget, and less-favorable pricing than its larger “general market” tier.

The alleged structure creates “separate and unequal tracks for black-owned media companies to earn advertising revenue,” Allen said, adding that the TV networks he owns and operates do not specifically target black audiences.

According to the lawsuit, black people represent some 40 percent of McDonald’s sales in the United States but black-owned media get less than $5 million out of the company’s approximate $1.6 billion in annual TV advertising.

Allen and other black media owners are urging McDonald’s to commit 5 to 15 percent of its advertising and marketing toward black-owned media companies.

“Together with our Owner/Operators, we have doubled down on our relationships with diverse-owned partners,” said McDonald’s in a statement to Deadline.

“This includes increasing our spend with diverse-owned media from 4% to 10% and with black-owned media from 2% to 5% of total national advertising over the next four years. Once we receive the complaint, we will review and respond accordingly,” the fast-food giant added.

Allen and other black-owned media companies have teamed up to put pressure on General Motors (GM) as well, claiming its CEO, Mary Barra, is “racist” because she has not met with them.

Allen has found some success in pushing this issue for over a year, reports Deadline, noting that ad giants GroupM and Interpublic have recently agreed to invest in black-owned media. His $20 billion discrimination lawsuit against Comcast ended in a settlement last year, after reaching the Supreme Court of the United States.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.


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