$20 Billion Racial Discrimination Suit Against Comcast, Al Sharpton Tossed

An appeal is planned.


A California district court judge has thrown out a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Comcast, Al Sharpton and others. The suit was brought by the National Association of African-American Owned Media and Entertainment Studios Networks Inc. who alleged that Comcast and Time Warner Cable discriminated against African-American owned media stations by shutting them out of its TV lineups. The suit was filed in February, before the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal fell through.

The Hollywood Reporter highlighted the case’s major argument: According to the complaint, the two companies “collectively spend approximately $25 billion annually for the licensing of pay-television channels and advertising of their products and services, yet 100 percent African American–owned media receives less than $3 million per year.”

MSNBC host Al Sharpton and others were alleged to have facilitated discrimination and were outspoken that the case was frivolous. Other defendants included: National Urban League, National Action Network, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Meredith Attwell Baker — a former Comcast executive.

Variety reports that the original lawsuit “claimed that Comcast, in securing approval for its 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal, reached memorandums of understanding with a number of civil rights groups that were a ‘sham’ to ‘whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.’ ”

Comedian Byron Allen who founded Entertainment Studios Networks Inc., says an appeal is coming.

“Knowing that our lawsuit helped the FCC and the DOJ deny Comcast’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable is already a big win for us,” said Allen in a statement. “We are going to immediately appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who I believe will deliver us a favorable decision.”