AT&T Settles Byron Allen Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, Picks Up 7 Channels

Byron Allen
Courtesy of Entertainment Studios

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has secured distribution for its seven cable channels across DirecTV and U-verse now that AT&T has settled a racial discrimination lawsuit filed in December 2014.

DirecTV began carriage of Entertainment Studios’ Comedy.TV and Justice Central.TV on Monday. U-verse has added Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, ES.TV, MyDestination.TV, Cars TV and Pets TV; U-verse already carried Justice Central.TV.

Of the lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, reps for Entertainment Studios and AT&T would only say: “The matter has been resolved.”

The AT&T deal greatly enhances the distribution base and value of the lifestyle and entertainment channels, which are wholly owned by Allen, a comedian turned entrepreneur. DirecTV and U-verse together reach nearly 26 million domestic subscribers, with U-verse accounting for about 6 million subscribers..

Allen has a similar racial discrimination lawsuit pending against Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

In the complaint against AT&T, the National Association of African-American Owned Media, an affiliate of Century City-based Entertainment Studios, claimed racial discrimination over the fact that Entertainment Studio had no luck securing a carriage deal with DirecTV after years of trying to engage executives in negotiations.

The suit came as AT&T was vulnerable to PR concerns about its image in dealing with independent programmers and minority-owned businesses. The telco giant was in the midst of securing federal approval for its $48 billion takeover of DirecTV, which closed in July.

Allen’s complaint blasted AT&T for having no carriage agreements with “100% African-American-owned media companies.” It made a provocative reference to what it called the practice of African-American celebrities posing as “fronts” for channels owned by “white-owned media,” without naming names.

The complaint also took a swipe at the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and National Urban League, claiming AT&T was “paying off” civil rights orgs to secure their endorsement of the AT&T-DirecTV merger.

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  1. Jerry says:

    Ok, Seven channels that I glanced at when they appeared on my Uverse lineup and caused no interest on my part. Seven channels that I don’t watch nor will I watch. It’s bad enough that I have the Discovery network channels all over and they quit being science, technology and history long ago. Shopping channels abound and every other channel is a paid ad. And like an idiot, I am paying money for that.

  2. what is my beliefs in the state of Hawaii that most of our officials in this subject FCC approval of this merger people have been paid off in one way or another maybe not in money airplane tickets as well as large donations to nonprofit organizations God bless Byron Allen for bringing up these lawsuits and being a leader in our African American as well as other communities but mainly a leader for our children and to show them what’s right and wrong and not to be bullied by large corporations and people in the government for taking money 4 votes but as we all know that’s no surprise to us may the good Lord be with Byron and N.A.A.A.O.in the days to come…..Justice will finally be served and like one African-American told me they will never stop us they’ll only slow us down they know we will overcome with Justice and the Good Lord

  3. toniizblessed says:

    GOD IS GOOD. And He is FAITHFUL to those who trust and believe in HIM! do right by Him! It is necessary what He has entrusted you with.

  4. David Zee says:

    Regardless of his reasons we need more black voices like Allen. I wish he would start an all news network to not only expose racism and racial injustice but also expose black people who exploit their own race. The most telling statement in the article is “Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and National Urban League, claiming AT&T was “paying off” civil rights orgs to secure their endorsement of the AT&T-DirecTV merger” and “the practice of African-American celebrities posing as “fronts” for channels owned by “white-owned media,” No surprise there. Mainstream media has zero interest and credibility exposing in these people. The NAACP and Urban League may have had a history of doing some good but they are bought and paid for by the same people that discriminate against the people they claim to represent. A solely black own and controlled news network could finally shine a spotlight on this and hold these self appointed race spokespeople accountable.

    • Deb Rose says:

      David Zee, your comment is SPOT-ON! I hope Byron Allen heard you. I HEARD YOU! So what can we do about it? Those people you mentioned, “Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and National Urban League, along with Roland Martin, Michael Baisden, Melisa Harris Perry, and all the others who claim to have an agenda of helping and informing the African American community aren’t really helping are they? They show up and report police incidents in order to keep themselves in the forefront with an agenda of “getting paid” and/or enhancing their own careers. Since Martin Luther King Jr., “who” has stepped forward to bring to light the other injustices and discriminatory practices designed to hinder the progress of African Americans as a whole, and not just enhance the few who have “made it” in Entertainment, Athletics, and the Music Industry? What about the rest of us? Why is no one stepping up to actually do something that makes a difference to our community as a whole politically, economically, and fairly. With all the attention on “Black Lives Matter” and “Unfairness and Discrimination at the Oscars,” Why is there no one taking on the mission of addressing everyday people in the black community who are trying to follow the rules and survive? Why aren’t we boycotting and using our hard earned dollars to perpetuate our own agenda instead of just handing it over to the “establishment?” I have 2 Masters Degrees from Johns Hopkins University yet I’ve been unemployed and searching for a full time job for 24 months! Why isn’t anybody addressing that? I don’t want to hear about Black Millionaires complaining about not getting awards or recognition, and about problems in the “hood.” What about the rest of us struggling in the middle? Who cares about us?

  5. Everyone should applaud Mr Allen on filing this complaint because Entertainment Studios lets the carrier use the shows for free and only collects money from advertisement. The effect of a show only pulling from advertisement dollars is…. wait for it…. lower cable bills…. what!!!! Comcast is so used to being abused by Disney,Disney and Disney, they are scared to charge less for cable. Only if they allowed the 1866-1981 Franchising ruling take its natural course we wouldn’t have this issue today. Imagine ESPN, Disney and others not hitting the cable companies up for billions and they were able to pay there employees more and dig more cable in rural areas…. wow, what a team the greatest country on earth would achieve.

  6. Sam America says:

    MR ALLEN I WILL NOT WATCH YOUR SHOW SINCE YOU HAVE NO TALENT AND NOBODY
    OBVIOUSLY WANTS TO WATCH YOUR CRAP SHOWS THAT’S WHY YOU CANT’ SELL YOUR
    SHOWS. BUT YOU HAVE TO USE THE OLD RACISM CRAP THAT IS BEING USED BY ALL YOU
    RICH HIPPOCRITE HOLLYWEIRDOS AND POOP STARS AND POLITICANS! F YOU.

    • Cpg718 says:

      Another dumb comment from yet another scared, angry, jealous white guy on the internet……..YAWN!!!!!!

      BORING!!!!!

  7. Sherrie says:

    Congratulations Mr. Allen, I look forward to watching your channels. Please hit up Xfinity next.

    • Jae says:

      We have ATT Uverse and they show a couple of his shows on a local channel here and they are AWESOME if you are in to lifestyle tv (which I am). One show is “Beautiful Homes and Great Estates” which shows GORGEOUS houses and the other one is “MyDestinationTV” which shows high end vacation destinations. Can’t wait to see more from Mr. Allen. He is a force to be reckoned with!

  8. Mrs. V says:

    Trust me, if his claim did not have any validity and PROOF, they wouldn’t have settled! Kudos Mr. Allen! For the people that do not want to face the ugly racial issues in the gold old USA, keep hiding your head in the sand and stop posting because it is a reality that the world sees and people are fed up with! I say keep fighting for equality!

    • RealPerson says:

      Companies often weigh the costs to settle versus the loss due to negative publicity. U-verse-, Comcast, Directv and dish may have a lot of similar shows and do not need to add more with little to no viewership. Unless these companies openly represent a racial biased programming agenda I see no reason to let people sue every time they don’t get their way. Now Mr. Allen is suing the FCC for $20 Billion? If the CC loses the lawsuit…where do you think the money will come from… the tax payers. Suing to rectify a wrong doing is one thing but making law suits a business format is another.

    • Mrs. V says:

      Good old not gold.

      • Kemmie says:

        To RealPerson says: …They settled because it was true? History tells us this? Is history lying, all of a sudden? We judge situations according to what your History (Past) says about you. Right? Or do we say…We have seen this story time and time and time and time and time and time and time…….You get me!

  9. Floyd Webb says:

    “The complaint also took a swipe at the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and National Urban League, claiming AT&T was “paying off” civil rights orgs to secure their endorsement of the AT&T-DirecTV merger.”

    Oh my, surely these august bodies would not take what amounts to “pay offs” to look the other way!

    Yet, Mr Allen’s victory clearly indicates AT&T’s capitulation to that point.

  10. mark says:

    Is anyone actually going to WATCH these crap channels? So MY bill will go up because they were forced to add garbage TV that nobody wants.

    • Floyd Webb says:

      Dont like cable? Cut it. I did. You always have a choice. USE IT! :-)

      • Jae says:

        A couple of his shows come on a local station where I live and they are very well produced lifestyle shows whichh I LOVE.

      • Jae says:

        Actually the shows are better than many I watch on Travel , A&E, Bravo and MANY other stations. Don’t speak on something you know NOTHING about!

      • vaughn says:

        Exactly! They have plenty of crap channels already on there…I just turn away. BTW, how do you know these new channels are crap, Mark, and you haven’t seen them yet? Hmmm…

  11. Hopefully this will mean Mr. Allen can green light projects with significant black content from concept to fruition. No one can relate to the sensitivities of black people like other black people.

  12. kathyg549 says:

    Can you subscribe to this channel independently using your Smart TV? Does anyone know?

  13. Black Spartacus says:

    Supply and demand economics. Nobody wanted Byron’s crap so like Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton he had to sue to get $$$ money! Tv stations play his unwatchable crap at night with infomercials and get rich quit property false gospels like creflo dollar and mike murdock. Why didn’t BYRON ask BET to partner with him??? Oh it’s those racist AT&T DrecTV people! He’s made millions selling his shows that nobody wants to watch! What a genius, just accuse others of racist to FORCE to carry your Network/Shows! Communist ideals Allen style! If DT didn’t want his stuff, try cable uh?? But that’s too easy! May the Social Justice Communist Ideals be with you Byron! Accuse others of being bigots just to make more money $$$! There’s more to life than money, but you haven’t found that out yet!

    ALL PRAISE THA SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS! He wasn’t looking for a Safe Space, he was looking to Force himself on another RACE! How many WHITE PEOPLE are on Byron Allen’s “staff?” It works both ways! One day someone can take his riches away from him for what he accuses others of! Variety should LOOK into the racial diversity of HIS companies!

    • Jae says:

      You don’t know WTF you are talking about. He has shows that appeal to everyone, actually two of my favorites are ones that probably would do great on Wealth TV or the Travel Channel. And they have NOTHING to do with an ethnicity. All I see is white people so he is keeping your people employed so STFU!

    • vaughn says:

      another troll…who isn’t black

    • Holy Brother says:

      Oh… I know for sure most, if not the majority, of his staff are white people!!! There is absolutely no issue in that arena!!!

      • Hustledetector says:

        Just an FYI: “Why didn’t Byron ask BET to partner with him??” Apparently you didn’t know that BET is an entity of VIACOM, another white owned corporation, along with Paramount Pictures (and associated companies), MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and CMT to name a few.

  14. Deszman says:

    Way to go Byron!! This White racist SHIT has got to stop!! The only way is through the COURTS! Money will effect the change!

    • Dale says:

      Shut up Deszman. There is no racism involved. Now stop it!

      • Melvin says:

        YOU should shut up, vaughn. You could sue for anything you want, including laundry being racist because whites and colors are “segregated” but that doesn’t mean the suit has any validity. (Duh!)

      • vaughn says:

        you should shut up Dale…the BASIS of the suit was racism…duh!

  15. Kid says:

    This guy dogs out the POTUS and makes ratchet shows

    • Jean McClain says:

      Byron, I use to live in the Miracle Mile Section Of L.A. And I knew you
      would go to the heights of excellence with your Mom. I’m So Happy For You!!
      Congrats!!

  16. @Lyrix25 says:

    This is absolutely awesome. Glad he was able to call it what it is and create more opportunities for diverse programming.

  17. Wyndell Patterson says:

    Another crack in the wall.

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