It is quite possibly the one of the most frivolous lawsuit in restaurant history.
McDonald’s, that fast-food chain ubiquitous in practically every town in America, cannot seem to catch a break.
It was not that long ago that the restaurant giant and others in the industry were charged with assailing black people and other minorities with targeted advertising that placed their health in jeopardy, according to Medical News Today. In the years following Michelle Obama’s “healthy eating” initiatives, menus were supposed to be more “conscious” of their offerings.
Now, apparently McDonald’s has not been doing enough targeting.
Such is the contention of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by Allen Media Group, which a federal judge signed off on Sept. 16, CNN Business reported. Allen Media has declared that because McDonald’s did not robustly advertise on its subsidiaries — including The Weather Channel — this constitutes an act of discrimination.
McDonald’s will have to cough up $10 billion if it loses in court as that is how much damage Allen Media tycoon Byron Allen has alleged he is owed after claiming McDonald’s does not advertise with black-owned companies.
Apart from the “not advertising enough” claim, Allen insists that McDonald’s has “tiered advertising,” which budgets for minority-aimed advertising much less than other ad campaigns.
“McDonald’s refusal to contract is the result of racial stereotyping through McDonald’s tiered advertising structure that differentiates on the basis of race. The primary advertising tier for McDonald’s is referred to as ‘general market,’ and it constitutes the vast majority of McDonald’s advertising budget. McDonald’s, however, created a separate ‘African American’ tier, with a much smaller budget and less-favorable pricing and other terms,” Allen Media Group wrote in a news release on Tuesday.
Additionally Allen, who is black, has stated that what black-targeted advertising McDonald’s produces features items at higher prices than other commercials aired by the chain.
McDonald’s filed a motion to dismiss the suit, but U.S. District Court Judge Fernando M. Olguin denied the motion on Sept. 16.
“This is about economic inclusion of African American-owned businesses in the U.S. economy,” Allen said in the news release. “McDonald’s takes billions from African American consumers and gives almost nothing back.”
The billions in damages are not the only goal Allen has now that his sights are set on McDonald’s. He alleges that the corporation’s management is guilty of “overt and systemic racism” and has called for the removal of CEO Chris Kempczinski, the company’s chief marketing officer and the entire board of directors.
Allen is no stranger to lawsuit against mega-corporations. In 2020, Comcast settled with Allen Media following a similar lawsuit claiming racial discrimination, Variety reported. As a result Comcast now carries several of Allen Media’s television channels.
It could be called a culinary Catch-22. On one hand McDonald’s is blamed for killing black people via its advertising, but if it fails to advertise enough toward that same audience, it is branded racist.
Apparently not even the Big Mac is immune from the fixation that too many have on ethnicity. In defiance of all logic and good sense, racism is seen in even the most innocuous of places. It used to be that the chief complaint about McDonald’s was the ice cream machines seldom working. But according to Byron Allen and others, McDonald’s is above all else guilty of perpetuating racial prejudice.
It must be asked: What is McDonald’s supposed to do to satisfy its critics who scream racism? Is the company expected to cease advertising altogether? Because that is the only course of action that it seems will completely satisfy the race-criers.
It is a good thing Ronald McDonald has been retired. The last thing that the chain now needs is an all-white clown pitching Happy Meals.
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