Byron Allen’s $100 Million McDonald’s Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge as ‘Purely Speculative’

The media mogul had accused the fast food giant of not honoring a pledge to increase ad-spending with Black-owned media

Byron-Allen
Byron Allen (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Citing California’s anti-SLAPP laws, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has dismissed the $100 million lawsuit filed last May by Byron Allen’s media company against McDonald’s which alleged that the fast food giant had failed to honor a pledge to increase ad spending with Black-owned media.

In May 2021, McDonald’s promised to more than double its spending on American media companies and production shops owned by Black, Asian, Latino, female and LGBTQ people, as well as individual content creators, by the end of 2024. And it specifically pledged to increase spending at Black-owned companies from  2% to 5%.

Allen’s lawsuit, filed in May, 2023, called this a “lie” and “false promise,” largely due to what it argued was insufficient spending on Allen’s companies in particular. But in the decision, dated Feb. 2, Judge Mel Recana noted that the suit was filed nearly 2 years before McDonald’s self-imposed deadline, and as such called the accusations within it “purely speculative.”

“As Defendant points out, this action was filed before 2024 and this year just begun and has not passed. It is unclear how Plaintiffs can make a prima facie showing of Defendant’s nonperformance when its deadline period has not even passed,” reads the Feb. 2 decision.

“Defendant still has about 11 months remaining in this year to perform on its promise and commit to spending the necessary amount with Black Owned Media. It is purely speculative to conclude Defendant will not perform on its promise even if Defendant has not yet committed the amount needed in spending,” the decision also said in part.

Louis Miller, an attorney representing Allen Media Group, said the company will appeal the ruling, adding that it “in no way affects” a parallel lawsuit “pending in federal court for racial discrimination in contracting for advertising.”

In a statement provided to the media, McDonald’s said, “the court’s decision serves as confirmation of what we’ve said all along: this was just another frivolous lawsuit brought by Byron Allen as part of his smear campaign against McDonald’s.

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