AMG Claims McDonald’s Has Failed to Honor its Promise to Spend 5 Percent of Its Advertising Budget on Black-Owned Media
LOS ANGELES, May 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group (AMG) divisions Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. (“Entertainment Studios”) and Weather Group, LLC (“Weather Group”) filed a lawsuit on May 4, 2023 in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles Central District, against McDonald’s USA, LLC (“McDonald’s“) seeking damages in excess of $100 million for fraud/false promise, in violation of Cal. Civ. Code § 1711. According to the lawsuit, McDonald’s made a commitment in 2021 to spend 2 percent of its billion-dollar advertising budget on Black-Owned Media in 2021, escalating to 5 percent by 2024.
Per the lawsuit, McDonald’s did not spend anywhere close to 2 percent on Black-Owned Media in 2021, and it is not remotely close to meeting its commitment today. McDonald’s made this promise in an attempt to mislead the public about its commitment to spend with Black-Owned Media. In the wake of the George Floyd murder and the Black Lives Matter movement, the lawsuit alleges McDonald’s was an outlier among its peer corporations in that it failed to make a significant pledge to remedy racial and social justice issues. After AMG notified McDonald’s of racial discrimination, McDonald’s rushed out a “plan” wherein it committed to more than double its advertising spend with Black-Owned Media.
Per the lawsuit, this “plan” was and is a lie. AMG is over 90 percent of the Black-Owned Media market. AMG is by far the largest African American-owned media company in the country. Given the paltry amounts McDonald’s was spending with AMG in 2021 when it made its pledge, there is no way McDonald’s was spending 2 percent of its advertising budget on Black Owned Media. Today, McDonald’s is still spending de minimis amounts with AMG. Thus, McDonald’s is not anywhere close to meeting its commitment to the public and its shareholders. AMG seeks damages in excess of $100 million, along with punitive damages and a permanent injunction requiring McDonald’s to honor its commitment and spend at least 5 percent of its ad budget on Black-Owned Media with full transparency going forward as promised.
“During the Black Lives Matter movement, hundreds of corporations made pledges to Black America, and unfortunately, they have not lived up to them,” said Byron Allen, Founder/Chairman/CEO of Allen Media Group. “McDonald’s is one of those corporations that has lied and made false promises. We must hold each and every one these corporations, including McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski, who was caught sending racist text messages, and its Board of Directors, fully accountable. The greatest trade deficit in America is the trade deficit between White corporate America and Black America, and we must close this trade deficit immediately.”
“This is a groundbreaking lawsuit based on a California law—Civil Code 1711—that holds corporations to their public promises and thereby redresses corporate fraud. That’s exactly this case,” said Skip Miller, partner in Miller Barondess, LLP and counsel for Allen Media Group. “Per the lawsuit, McDonald’s said one thing and did another. It promised to spend 5 percent of its billion dollar a year ad budget on African American owned media—of which Allen Media is over 90 percent—and has not come close. Per our lawsuit, this is a fraud on our client and on the public. The lawsuit seeks to hold one of the largest corporations in the world responsible for its lies.”
About Allen Media Group
Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded Allen Media Group in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angeles, it has offices in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Charleston, SC. Allen Media Group owns 27 ABC–NBC–CBS–FOX network affiliate broadcast television stations in 21 U.S. markets and twelve 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 220 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, THE WEATHER CHANNEL EN ESPAÑOL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, JUSTICECENTRAL.TV, THEGRIO TELEVISION NETWORK, THIS TV, and PATTRN. Allen Media Group also owns the streaming platforms HBCU GO, SPORTS.TV, THEGRIO, THE WEATHER CHANNEL EN ESPAÑOL, THE WEATHER CHANNEL STREAMING APP and LOCAL NOW–the free-streaming AVOD service powered by THE WEATHER CHANNEL and content partners, which delivers real-time, hyper-local news, weather, traffic, sports, and lifestyle information. Allen Media Group also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 73 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Allen Media Group provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, and multimedia digital. Our mission is to provide excellent programming to our viewers, online users, and Fortune 500 advertising partners.
Allen Media Group Motion Pictures (AMGMP) is a full-service, theatrical motion picture distribution company specializing in wide release commercial content. AMGMP released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller 47 METERS DOWN, which grossed over $44.3 million. In 2018, AMGMP also released the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Western HOSTILES, the historic mystery-thriller CHAPPAQUIDDICK and the sequel to 47 METERS DOWN, 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED. The digital movie distribution unit of AMGMP, Freestyle Digital Media, is a premiere multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, digital and streaming platforms. Capitalizing on a robust infrastructure, proven track record and a veteran sales team, Freestyle Digital Media is a true home for independent films.
In 2016, Allen Media Group purchased The Grio, a highly rated digital video-centric news community platform devoted to providing African Americans with compelling stories and perspectives currently underrepresented in existing national news outlets. The Grio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles and opinion pieces on topics that include breaking news, politics, health, business and entertainment. Originally launched in 2009, the platform was then purchased by NBC News in 2010. The digital platform remains focused on curating exciting digital content and currently has more than 100 million annual visitors.
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SOURCE Allen Media Group