“Power” executive producer and co-star Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson took to Instagram Saturday to slam AT&T as talks between the cable and telecom provider and his show’s premium cable channel Starz hit a standstill. The stalled negotiations could threaten to make the predominantly African-American-cast drama unavailable to U-Verse customers as soon as next week.
“Man Im sorry I have to say this, but AT&T is racist they have had issues in the past and here we go again,” Jackson wrote on Instagram. “500,000 homes will not be able to view the next episode of POWER. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO #SMSAUDIO”
Jackson posted several more times about the subject, the last post featuring the Comcast and Time Warner Cable logos and urging AT&T customers to switch providers. “If your a fan of POWER and you have AT&T as a cable carrier, you will no longer see it,” he wrote. “Switch to Anything but AT&T #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO #SMSAUDIO”
Starz first became available on AT&T in 2006, and touts itself to be the second most subscribed to premium cable service behind HBO (and ahead of Showtime).
“Starz is in ongoing negotiations with AT&T U-verse to continue distributing its 30 Starz and Encors channels and services at a fair and reasonable rate,” a network spokesperson said in a statement, “Without a new agreement, the millions of AT&T customers who have chosen to subscribe and pay for Starz and Encore will be at risk of losing these channels and the popular original programming like ‘Power’ and ‘Outlander,’ as well as thousands of movies. Starz has enjoyed a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with AT&T until now. We are hopeful AT&T will negotiate in good faith and that we will reach a fair agreement that allows its customers to continue to get great entertainment at a good value.”
AT&T responded to Jackson’s posts with its own written statement: “Starz and their paid talent can spin up whatever they like, but the bottom line is we’re NOT going to negotiate a deal that is bad for customers. In these negotiations, our customers are all that matter to us.”
“Power” is one of several Starz original series targeting audiences that the network believes have been traditionally underserved by premium cable.
“When I look at ‘Power,’ I say, ‘Okay, those faces aren’t on TV,'” Starz CEO Chris Albrecht said at TCA simmer press tour in July, 2014. “The sort of not so surprising secret is that, historically in television we know that white people don’t watch shows that don’t have a lot of characters, that don’t have a lot of white faces in them.”
Jackson spoke with TheWrap earlier this week for an episode of “Drinking With the Stars,” in which he talked about another Afrifcan-American-led drama, “Empire.” Jackson has complained in the past that “Empire” ripped off elements of the marketing campaign for “Power.” But he told TheWrap that he would like to see “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson recognized with a Primetime Emmy Award win for best drama actress following her nomination Thursday.