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Byron Allen Files $10 Billion Discrimination Suit Against Charter

Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks along with the National Association of African-American Owned Media (NAAAOM) Wednesday filed a $10 billion lawsuit in United States District Court against Charter Communications for engaging in “racial discrimination” by not launching African-American owned networks.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday night in filed in United States District Court in Central District of California, comes less than a month after Entertainment Studios settled a similar discrimination lawsuit against AT&T and DirecTV after AT&T signed to carry Entertainment Studios’ portfolio of networks.

The suit alleges that Charter Communications has engaged in racial discrimination by not contracting with 100% African American-owned media.The suit further states that of the more than $4 billion spent annually by Charter Communications on cable channel carriage fees and advertising, none is spent with 100% African American-owned media companies. 

In light of Charter’s actions, the FCC should never approve Charter Communications’ acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, according to the lawsuit.

“Our lawsuit seeks to stop Charter Communications’ ‘Jim Crow’ policies and collusion with elected officials in order to continue its exclusion of 100% African American-owned media,” says Allen in a statement. “President Obama and the FCC have left 100% African American-owned media with no choice but to fight for our rights.  With this suit, as well as others to follow, NAAAOM and I intend to stop these corporate racist atrocities and the resulting African American financial genocide that we witness every day."

The lawsuit also comes two weeks after Charter signed a memorandum of understanding with a dozen diversity organizations to diversify its board of directors and to hire a chief diversity offer to head its diversity and inclusion efforts once its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable is approved.

In a statement, Charter said: "This is a desperate tactic that this programmer has used before with other distributors.  We will not comment further at this time."