A racial discrimination lawsuit was filed by entrepreneur Byron Allen against the St. Louis-based Charter Communications and a federal judge presiding over the 10-billion dollars lawsuit said that the allegations deserves full consideration. Federal District Court Judge George Wu rejected the bid by Charter Communications to toss out the racial discrimination lawsuit that was filed by Entertainment Studios and the National Association of African-American Owned Media.
National Association of African-American Owned Media and Allen claim that Charter Communications has indulged in “racial discrimination in contracting for television channel carriage.” This means that Charter has conspired to keep black-owned media off their network. An attorney for Allen, Skip Miller said, “We have evidence of racial bias harbored by top level Charter executives with decision-making authority, and allege, in detail, the discriminatory treatment ESN (Entertainment Studios) suffered at the hands of these executives.”
Allen is famous for his work as a television producer and comedian and is a busy executive who has an affinity for black-owned media. In the month of June, Allen bought TheGrio, a popular website that targets the Afro-American audiences. The website was searching for a partner who is able to help the site grow its plan of digital video production, which also includes possible syndication across the cable networks.
“We are excited to have TheGrio join Byron Allen’s ever-expanding Entertainment Studios media empire,” David A. Wilson, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheGrio said. “Byron shares our vision of growing TheGrio into the leading video content creator and distribution platform for African-Americans. We look forward to developing the next iteration of TheGrio, and the fact that it will remain 100 percent African American-owned is very significant.”
With the lawsuit against Charter progressing and the TheGrio in his portfolio, Allen is much confident about the possibilities. “This lawsuit was filed to provide distribution and real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media,” Allen said. “The cable industry spends $70 billion a year licensing cable networks and 100% African American-owned media receives zero. This is completely unacceptable. We will not stop until we achieve real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media.”
Mark DeVitre, who is the president of the National Association of African American-Owned Media said, “Charter will now have to open up all their contracts which will show the world that they do not do business with 100% African American-owned media out of the billions of dollars they spend on programming every year.”
“Simply put, the contracts and the numbers do not lie, and they will show racial discrimination, lack of economic inclusion for African American-owned media, and blatant racism. In my opinion, Charter’s CEO, Tom Rutledge, has done his stockholders a huge disservice by not sitting down with us, but instead pretending Reverend Al Sharpton speaks for all African Americans which in itself is racist,” DeVitre added.