×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Byron Allen’s Racial Discrimination Lawsuits Against Comcast and Charter to Proceed

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios scored legal victories on Monday as a federal appellate court ruled that his racial discrimination lawsuits against Comcast and Charter Communications will proceed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena, Calif., overturned a lower court’s decision to dismiss Allen’s claim against Comcast. The same three-judge panel also affirmed a lower court’s decision to deny Charter’s motion to dismiss Allen’s suit.

The rulings state that Allen has made a plausible case for racial discrimination being a factor in the separate decisions by Comcast and Charter to not carry any of Entertainment Studios’ suite of cable channels. Allen filed suit against Comcast in 2015 and against Charter in early 2016.

Allen’s suits are rooted in a post-Civil War law designed to help protect newly freed slaves from discrimination in pursuing business deals and contracts. Monday’s rulings do not address the merits of Entertainment Studios’ claims against the cable giants, only that there are enough plausible allegations in the suits to allow the litigation to continue through the courts. The appellate panel also ruled that the First Amendment claims exerted by Comcast and Charter as protecting their programming decisions were not sufficient to dismiss the cases outright.

Allen maintains that racial bias is a factor in Comcast and Charter’s longstanding decisions to not carry any of his entertainment and lifestyle channels. Allen filed a similar suit against AT&T that was settled in late 2015 when AT&T’s DirecTV picked up seven Entertainment Studios channels.

“Plaintiffs’ allegations regarding Charter’s treatment of Entertainment Studios, and its differing treatment of white-owned companies, are sufficient to state a viable claim,” Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. wrote in the Charter opinion. 

Comcast and Charter were critical of the decisions.

“We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision, and are reviewing the decision and considering our options,” Comcast said in a statement. Charter had a more forceful response.

“This lawsuit is a desperate tactic that this programmer has used before with other distributors,” Charter said. “We are disappointed with today’s decision and will vigorously defend against these claims.”

Allen, who is founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios, hailed the rulings as “unprecedented and historic.”

“The lack of true economic inclusion for African-Americans will end with me, and these rulings show that I am unwavering in my commitment to achieving this long overdue goal,” Allen said.

More Biz

  • Prince Memoir, ‘The Beautiful Ones,’ to

    Prince Memoir, ‘The Beautiful Ones,’ to Be Released in October

    The memoir Prince was working on at the time of his death is coming out Oct. 29, according to the Associated Press. Publisher Random House confirmed Monday that “The Beautiful Ones” will combine Prince’s unfinished manuscript with rare photos, scrapbooks and lyrics. Announced just weeks before his 2016 death, the 288-page book, issued in partnership [...]

  • Abigail Disney on Bob Iger

    Abigail Disney Calls Bob Iger's $65 Million Compensation 'Insane'

    Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger’s total compensation for Disney’s fiscal 2018 was a whopping $65.6 million. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy Disney, calls that sum “insane.”  While speaking at the Fast Company Impact Council, the filmmaker and philanthropist insisted that this level of corporate payout has a “corrosive effect on society.” Disney took [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Signs of Solidarity and Strain Emerge as Week 2 of WGA-Talent Agency Standoff Begins

    Hundreds of WGA members rallied solidly behind their union last week as the industry grappled with uncertainties spurred by the sudden break between writers and their talent agency representatives. But as the standoff heads into its second week, signs of strain among some WGA members are beginning to emerge. Shalom Auslander, author and creator of [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale

    Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale Date

    UPDATED: The troubled Woodstock 50 festival has run into more difficulties, as multiple sources told Variety late Friday that the April 22 on-sale date for the event has been postponed. Agents for artists scheduled to perform at the festival — which include Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Halsey [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content