Photo courtesy of McDonald’s
A California federal court judge on Tuesday dismissed Byron Allen’s lawsuit against McDonald’s, saying he failed to provide sufficient facts to support their claims the hamburger giant discriminated against The Weather Channel owner and other networks.
But the judge will give Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks the chance to modify his complaint and continue his legal fight.
Allen sued McDonald’s for discrimination in May, claiming the burger giant discriminated against African-American-owned media, including his company, in its media purchases. The lawsuit argued that McDonald’s spent only a fraction of its advertising spend on black-owned media and categorized Allen’s company specifically as targeting a black audience.
Loretta Lynch, attorney for McDonald’s, said in a statement that if Allen’s company comes back with new claims, “we will be prepared to assess the new claims and start over as we believe there is no evidence. in support of this baseless case “.
The lawsuit was among many discrimination complaints filed against the hamburger giant over the past 18 months. Current and former franchisees have sued the company, as have former employees and executives. Together, they paint a picture of a company that has retreated on diversity under former CEO Steve Easterbrook and his successor, Chris Kempczinski.
Allen was particularly vocal. Last month, he called for Kempczinski’s dismissal in a letter to the company’s board of directors following a text message to Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, appearing to blame parents over the death by bullet from two children, one of whom was shot while in a drive-thru at a McDonald’s.
McDonald’s has worked in recent months to overcome many of these complaints. He bases the bonuses of certain executives on the company’s ability to meet diversity goals and is committed to spending more with media owned by more diverse owners and other vendors. It also works with some of its suppliers on diversity issues.
For now, however, the judge has dismissed Allen’s allegations of discrimination, saying “the court is skeptical that the plaintiffs have pleaded enough facts” to support various elements of the case. For example, the lawsuit argues that Entertainment Studios Networks has tried “on several occasions over the years” to contract with McDonald’s for advertising.
But, the judge said, the only supporting allegation was that Allen’s Weather Group marketing reps introduced Weather Channel to the McDonald’s ad agency. “These allegations appear insufficient to establish an attempt to create a contractual relationship. “
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