“Everyone talks about diversity, but diversity in Hollywood and the media starts with ownership,” Entertainment Studios CEO says
Entertainment Studios Network CEO Byron Allen is heading back to court, this time filing a $10 billion lawsuit against the FCC and Charter Communications claiming racial discrimination against African-American-owned media.
“President Obama and the Democratic Party have completely excluded the African-American community when it comes to economic inclusion,” Allen said in a statement to TheWrap Wednesday.
“Everyone talks about diversity, but diversity in Hollywood and the media starts with ownership. African Americans don’t need handouts and donations; we can hire ourselves if white corporate America does business with us in a fair and equitable way,” he continued.
In a $10 billion lawsuit filed at the Central District Court of California Wednesday, Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. and the National Association of African American-Owned Media (NAAAOM) claimed that Charter Communications engaged in racial discrimination in contracting against 100 percent African-American-owned media in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. section 1981.
The suit was also filed against the Federal Communications Commission “for approving mega-media mergers, such as Comcast/NBCUniversal, that discriminate against African American-owned media,” according to the documents obtained by TheWrap.
The suit further states that of the over $4 billion spent annually by Charter Communications on cable channel carriage fees and advertising, zero dollars are spent with 100 percent African American-owned media companies. “Because of this racial discrimination, President Obama’s FCC should never approve Charter Communications’ acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks,” it claimed.
“Our lawsuit seeks to stop Charter Communications’ ‘Jim Crow’ policies and collusion with elected officials in order to continue its exclusion of 100 percent African American-owned media,” Allen said. “President Obama and the FCC have left 100 percent 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.”
“Charter Communications does not do business, nor have they ever done business, with 100 percent African American-owned media. I think they are simply an evil corporation,” Mark DeVitre, President of NAAAOM, added. “President Obama and the FCC have failed the African American community so miserably, they have forced African American-owned media to the edge of extinction. Racism, and the lack of true economic inclusion, must stop.”
Last year, Allen filed a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, claiming they were blocking equal access for black-owned networks.