Comcast, Byron Allen end racial discrimination dispute

Entertainment

FILE – In this Sept. 5, 2019 file photo, comedian and media mogul Byron Allen poses for a picture in Los Angeles. Allen and Comcast have settled a long-running a long-running racial discrimination dispute, and the cable giant will add three of the black media mogul’s channels to its cable packages. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Comcast settled a long-running a long-running racial discrimination dispute with black media mogul Byron Allen, agreeing to add three of Allen’s channels to its cable packages.

Allen sued Comcast for $20 billion in 2015 for refusing to carry seven of his networks, saying it was because of his race. Comcast said it declined to carry the channels because the programming wasn’t original or of sufficient quality. Allen also sued Charter, another cable company, for $10 billion for refusing to carry his networks.

The case made it to the Supreme Court, which in Marc h reversed a lower court ruling in favor of Allen.The Supreme Court said Allen had to show race was the decisive factor in Comcast’s decision not to offer him a contract, not one of several factors. Allen called that ruling “harmful to the civil rights of millions of Americans.”

Comcast and Allen’s company, Entertainment Studios Networks, said Wednesday that Comcast would include the channels Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV in its cable packages. It also extended agreements on the Weather Channel and 14 broadcast stations that Entertainment Studios owns. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Many companies, while pledging solidarity with black employees and black people against injustice, are startingto confront the lack of diversityand allegations of racismin their own organizations.

Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, this Monday pledged $100 million for social justice and said it would accelerate its diversity efforts. Comcast said it would “put the full weight of our company’s media resources behind highlighting Black voices and Black stories.”

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