The National Association of African American Owned Media has filed a $10 billion lawsuit against AT&T and DirecTV for race discrimination and violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, alleging discrimination in contracting. AT&T is currently in the process of trying to buy DirecTV and efforts to spur deal conditions or pledges on diversity, in programming and contracting, are not unusual.
The group claims the companies, which are trying to merge, have refused to contract with 100% African American owned media. AT&T points out that it was recently named number one on DiversityInc.'s list of most diverse supplier.
Actually, the group concedes that the companies do contract with 100% African American owned companies, just at a percentage that does not cut it given that African Americans make up 13% of the population. "It is estimated that collectively, AT&T and DirecTV spend approximately $22 billion dollars in both cable channel carriage license fees and advertising," the group said, "while less than $3 million of those dollars are allocated to 100% African American owned media."