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Byron Allen Files Second Lawsuit Against McDonald’s

In the latest development of the ongoing saga, media mogul Byron Allen has initiated a second legal action against fast food chain McDonald’s Corp regarding their purported refusal to engage in advertising with Black-owned media. The lawsuit was filed last week in Los Angeles by Entertainment Studios Networks Inc and Weather Group LLC, both entities of which are controlled by Allen. The complainants have accused McDonald’s of deceit after the company had previously committed, in May of 2021, to increase national ad spending with Black-owned media from 2% to 5% by 2024.

Allen has claimed that he would be able to ascertain whether McDonald’s is honoring this pledge, as his own company, Allen Media Group, represents over 90% of Black-owned media. He further stated that he had relied on McDonald’s promise when attempting to secure new business from the company, only to be denied. The lawsuit requests punitive damages totaling $100 million for alleged violation of a California anti-fraud statute prohibiting the making of false promises.

The case brought by Allen is in addition to his $10 billion federal lawsuit which contends that McDonald’s advertising practices constitute “racial stereotyping” and breach federal and California civil rights laws. McDonald’s issued a statement expressing pride in its record of investment in diverse communities and partners, while simultaneously criticizing Allen’s claims as “baseless lawsuits” that constitute a “public smear campaign” against the corporation. The company declared its intention to vigorously defend itself against such tactics of intimidation.

In his own statement, Allen asserted that during the Black Lives Matter movement, hundreds of corporations had made pledges to Black America, and that McDonald’s was one of those corporations that had made false promises. In an earlier court filing on April 21, McDonald’s legal representatives had reported that attempts at mediation to resolve Allen’s $10 billion lawsuit had been unsuccessful, while also accusing Allen of utilizing “harassment and hectoring” in his efforts to extract an undeserved resolution. McDonald’s referenced an open letter written by Allen, which was published in the Chicago Tribune on April 19, one day before the scheduled discussions, and which alleged that McDonald’s engages in “horrible systemic racism against Black people.” The letter also called for the replacement of McDonald’s board of directors and Chief Executive, Chris Kempczinski. No comment has yet been provided by Allen’s spokesperson regarding the current matter.

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