RACE-SENSITIVE TOYOTA LAWSUIT SETTLED

Case Evolved From Jesse Jackson Protest Threat

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Calhoun and Associates, a public relations firm in Montgomery, Ala., has announced the settlement of a race-sensitive breach-of-contract lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales USA, Torrance, Calif.

The lawsuit claimed Toyota reneged on a $1 million contract with the public relations firm that called for consultancy help to eliminate the threat of a boycott of Toyota dealerships by African Americans.

Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/Push coalition threatened the boycott after protesting that a promotional postcard last spring targeting young African Americans was degrading.

Terms of the settlement are confidential.

Calhoun said Toyota later admitted it had

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hired the public relations firm and that it performed its duties.

A Toyota spokesman said the carmaker did hire Calhoun, but decided to part ways with the firm after about a month. He said Toyota didn't have a contract or any long-term working arrangement with the public relations firm and that the disagreement was over the level of compensation.

"We're pleased it's settled," he said.

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