Byron Allen Comcast Lawsuit Going to SCOTUS
UPDATED NOV 4, 2019 – Byron Allen Levels Up To The Supreme Court In $20 Billion Comcast Appeal
Are Black media companies being blocked from business?
Comedian and media mogul Byron Allen has officially put Comcast on notice, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear his $20 billion racial bias lawsuit. Together Comcast and Charter Communications cable distribution reaches about 36 million subscribers, and they’ve been blocking Allen from getting access to them. As one of the few black owned media companies, will the highest court in the land put an end to the refusal to carry Entertainment Studios slate of channels?
The Breakdown You Need to Know
This is more than a case of racial bias, rather one of civil rights, which is why he’s seeking $20 billion. CultureBanx noted he’s hoping that under the umbrella of a Reconstruction-era civil rights law that says companies can’t discriminate based on race in business contracts, he’ll put a stop to the dismissive nature of these cable companies. Allen’s Entertainment Studios media empire consists of 43 syndicated television series, eight cable networks, The Weather Channel, and a movie studio. Currently, there are 50 pay-TV operators that already distribute its content including Verizon Fios, DirecTV, RCN and Suddenlink to 80 million subscribers.As one of the few black owned media companies, taking on Comcast puts a lot at stake. Herein lies the problem… the DOJ claims the statute being argued calls for the “but-for” causation standard not the “motivating-factor” test used by the lower court. Law 360 reported Allen’s company would have to prove that racial discrimination tipped the scales towards denial and was not just a motivating factor. Entertainment Studios believes it can make its case under both standards. If the DOJ brief is favored by the Supreme Court, then the interpretation of the statute could affect the intention of it to protect African American civil rights.
“Comcast/NBCUniversal teaming up with Donald Trump’s Department of Justice to eviscerate a civil rights statute in the U.S. Supreme Court is shameful, evil, and the epitome of American institutionalized racism,” Allen told CultureBanx.
While Comcast garnered government support for its cause, the Congressional Black Caucus has weighed in on the case. In a statement to the Grio they wrote, “Our caucus is committed to continuing aggressive oversight of the Administration to mitigate the impacts of these dangerous and out of touch policies, which include opening the door to discrimination in contracts.”