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McDonald’s ordered to face discrimination



(Reuters) — McDonald’s Corp . has been ordered by a US judge to defend itself against media entrepreneur Byron Allen’s $10 billion lawsuit that accuses the fast-food chain of “racial stereotyping” by not advertising with black-owned media.

In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Fernando Olguin in Los Angeles said Mr. Allen could try to prove that McDonald’s violated federal and California civil rights by arguing that his networks are ineligible for “the vast majority” of its advertising dollars.

Mr. Allen accused McDonald’s of relegating his Entertainment Studios Networks Inc. and Weather Group LLC, which owns the Weather Channel, to an “African-American level”

; with a separate advertising agency and much smaller advertising budget, depriving them of tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

In a statement Tuesday, McDonald’s attorney Loretta Lynch argued that the Chicago-based company saw the lawsuit as “about earnings, not race,” and believed the evidence would show there was no discrimination.

The lawsuit said blacks represent 40% of fast-food customers, but McDonald’s spent just 0.3% of its $1.6 billion U.S. advertising budget in 2019 on black-owned media.

In May 2021, McDonald’s pledged to increase national ad spending with black-owned media to 5% from 2% by 2024.

Judge Olguin dismissed an earlier version of Mr. Allen’s lawsuit last November, and found no evidence of intentional and deliberate discrimination by his company.


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