×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Files $10 Billion Discrimination Lawsuit Against Charter Communications, FCC

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has filed a $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Charter Communications and the Federal Communications Commission.

The suit, similar to earlier complaints filed against Comcast and AT&T, claim that Charter has shown racial bias in its refusal to carry channels offered by Entertainment Studios, the company owned by comedian-turned-entrepreneur Allen. The latest suit maintains that the FCC facilitates discriminatory activity by approving mega mergers such as the 2011 union of Comcast and NBCUniversal, which makes it harder for African-American-owned independent companies to compete.

“The FCC works hand-in-hand with these merging television distribution companies to enable and facilitate their Civil Rights violations,” the complaint states. “The FCC’s apparent standard operating procedure is to obtain and accept sham diversity commitments from merger applicants, in excess of its statutory duties.”

Allen’s complaints also take aim once again at other African-American figures including Rev. Al Sharpton, calling him a “token” whose endorsement of merger deals is bought off by donations from big media companies to his National Action Network. Critics say Allen is playing the race card to gain advantage in business that his lifestyle and entertainment channels would otherwise not warrant from large distributors.

The complaint, filed Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, details Allen’s attempts to meet with Charter CEO Tom Rutledge and other execs. The timing of the suit is clearly an effort to exert pressure as the FCC is in the final stages of its review of Charter’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. Allen protested TW Cable’s now-scuttled merger agreement with Comcast on the same grounds.

This is a desperate tactic that this programmer has used before with other distributors,” Charter said in a statement.

Last month, Allen settled his lawsuit against AT&T at the same time that the telco giant added seven Entertainment Studios-owned channels to DirecTV’s lineup. AT&T was also vulnerable to PR pressure last year as it sought to close its $48 billion takeover of DirecTV.

Earlier this month, Charter outlined its pledge to increase diversity in the ranks of its 23,000 employees in a memorandum of understanding inked with six national advocacy orgs, including Sharpton’s National Action Network, the Urban League and the National Council of La Raza. The commitments include the appointment of three board members who are African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American within two years of the closing of the Time Warner Cable acquisition and the appointment of a chief diversity officer.

More TV

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis. ” As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

  • Bryan Cranston First Time in Variety

    Bryan Cranston on His Early Roles, Dealing With Rejection and His 'Erasable Mind'

    Following his 2014 Tony Award for best actor as President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s play “All the Way,” Bryan Cranston is looking to add to his trophy collection this year with his performance as Howard Beale in “Network.” The deranged anchorman — who’s famously “mad as hell and not going to take this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content