A California judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a senior media executive accusing McDonald’s of discriminating against African-American-run companies in their advertising spending and seeking $10 billion in damages as a result.
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The petition, filed in May, accused the “fast food” giant of deliberately refusing to post promotional messages on channels owned by Byron Allen, who campaigns for major groups to buy more ads in the African-American media. Americans, through its entertainment studios Networks and Weather Group companies.
Judge Fernando Olguin, in his ruling consulted by AFP on Wednesday, believes that the two companies have not sufficiently substantiated their allegations.
He argues in particular that they did not provide sufficient facts to prove that they tried to obtain a contract with McDonald’s and to prove that McDonald’s intentionally discriminated against them on racial grounds.
However, the judge is leaving the door open by giving complainants the opportunity to file a completed complaint by December 20.
According to the initial complaint, the fast-food chain spent about $1.6 billion on television advertising in the United States in 2019, but only 0.31% of that went to African-American-controlled media, even though African Americans make up about 40% of the group’s customers.
The two companies’ attorney, Skip Miller, told AFP they intended to add “detailed facts” to their case and file an amended complaint.
McDonald’s attorney Loretta Lynch responded in a letter transmitted to AFP, “This file is a matter of rotation and not a question of race, and it has been dismissed, because prosecutors have not presented any facts to support their accusations.” She added that in the event that a new complaint is submitted, the group will continue to challenge it, as it considers “there is no evidence to justify this unworthy case.”
Before filing the lawsuit in May, the group said it wanted to double its advertising spending over the next four years in media owned by representatives of black and Hispanic minorities, women and other subgroups.
During this period, spending on African-American media would drop from 2% to 5% of the national total, McDonald’s said at the time.
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