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Byron Allen Withdraws Racial Discrimination Case Against Comcast, Parties Enter Carriage Agreement

Allen had taken $20 billion lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled against him

Byron Allen has withdrawn his racial discrimination lawsuit against Comcast. The two parties have entered into a carriage agreement, with the cable company carrying Allen’s 15 TV stations, including The Weather Channel.

The deal also includes the distribution of Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV on X1, video on demand and TV everywhere.

Comcast will also launch the free ad-supported digital app, Local Now, on the Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms, and Xfinity customers who receive The Weather Channel will have (authenticated) access to its weloveweather.tv website and app.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Comcast in the $20 billion lawsuit brought forth by Allen. The highest court in America unanimously ruled that Allen must prove that racial bias was the sole cause the cable giant refused to carry his TV channels. That decision sent the case back to lower courts.

The case stems from a 2016 racial discrimination lawsuit in which Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks accused Comcast and Charter of refusing to carry Entertainment Studios’ cable channels, which include Cars.TV and Pets.TV, because Allen is black. (Allen purchased The Weather Channel in 2018 and founded Entertainment Studios in 1993.)

He accused the cable giants of violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. section 1981.

Allen’s Comcast lawsuit was dismissed three times at the district level, but the Ninth Circuit appeals court reversed that decision in 2019 and set a lower legal standard for demonstrating discrimination — that “a plausible ‘motivating factor’ showing is all that is necessary to overcome a motion to dismiss.” The Supreme Court rejected that theory, calling it “mistaken.”

“We’re excited to begin a new phase of partnership with Comcast and Xfinity, including the distribution of our cable channels for the first time on Xfinity platforms,” Allen, the founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios and Allen Media Group, said in a statement on Thursday morning.

“We are pleased to have reached this multifaceted agreement that continues our long relationship with The Weather Channel while bringing Xfinity customers additional content,” Bec Heap, senior vice president of video and entertainment at Comcast Cable, said. “We look forward to an ongoing partnership.”