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He Built The Largest Black Owned McDonald’s Franchise. He’s Now Suing Them for Racist Policies and Discrimination

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in an Ohio court, accused McDonald’s of “racial discrimination and retaliation” against the man who built the largest Black owned McDonald’s franchise.

Herb Washington, a former Oakland Athletics player and longtime McDonald’s franchisee, is suing the fast-food chain for alleged racial discrimination.

Black Owned McDonald’s
Herb Washington (Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay)

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Ohio, the star athlete — who previously owned 27 McDonald’s in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, making him the largest black-owned franchise in the country — accused the company of “racial discrimination and retaliation against him as a Black franchisee.”

“In his four decades in the McDonald’s system, Mr. Washington has suffered deplorable treatment as compared with White franchisees,” said the complaint, filed in the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division.

Washington, 69, said in lawsuit that he now owns only 14 McDonald’s in the country and claimed the company forced him to sell several of his stores, including seven that were sold to White owners over the past three years.

Black Owned McDonald’s

According to Washington’s lawsuit, the fast-food chain also “purposefully steered” the retired MLB star towards stores in “distressed, predominantly Black neighborhoods,” where he experienced a significant loss in profit.

Washington’s lawsuit also claimed that while there were 377 Black franchisees in the McDonald’s system back in 1998, there are now only 186 — despite the company allegedly increasing its number of stores from 15,086 to 38,999 during that time period.

“These numbers are not a coincidence; they are the result of McDonald’s intentionally racist policies and practices toward Black franchisees,” the lawsuit read.

According to the Washington Post, Washington said in a Zoom press conference on Tuesday, “McDonald’s has targeted me for extinction.” He reportedly added, “It took every ounce of me to succeed against the incredible and unfair odds that McDonald’s forced on me,.”


Why Black Businesses Fail (Part 3): Discrimination by Non-Black Americans

Black businesses can fail when non-Black Americans engage in racial discrimination. Non-Black Americans may refuse to become customers of the businesses, refuse to supply or contract with the businesses, engage in extreme competitive behavior that is motivated by race, and decide against extending financing or credit to Black businesses.

Actually, such discrimination is logical on the part of non-Blacks given that their interests lie in supporting non-Black businesses. Most logical persons will agree that individuals generally feel most comfortable with those who look, think, act, and talk like them. Therefore, it should be no surprise when Black businesses experience racial discrimination.

It is true that discrimination is against the law of the land; however, legal enforcement is very weak. In fact, Black business operators should consider themselves to be extremely fortunate if they find that they do not encounter racial discrimination. Black businesses should expect racial discrimination from non-Black Americans, and should build their business strategy with this reality in mind.

Black Americans should discontinue the “Great Con Game,” and realize that we have no right to expect non-Black Americans to behave favorably toward us. That is neither the way of the world (capitalism), nor of nature itself. The first law of nature is self-preservation. Therefore, we should be of the mindset that we are in a war of us against the world.

To be successful despite discrimination by non-Black Americans, Black Americans should unify by:

(1) Patronizing Black businesses vigorously.

(2) Optimizing our business efforts by vertically integrating the businesses that we operate.

(3) Adopting soft-competition policies where they are in our best interest

(4) Motivating Black financial institutions to finance new Black businesses and to extend credit to existing businesses.

Under these conditions, when we achieve success despite discrimination, we alone will be the claimants to that success.


Contributed by  Dr. Brooks Robinson

Black businesses

Founder of