LOS ANGELES, January 27, 2016 -- Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. and The National Association of African American-Owned Media (NAAAOM) on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, filed a $10 billion lawsuit against Charter Communications for engaging in racial discrimination in contracting against 100% African American-owned media in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. section 1981; and against President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission for approving mega-media mergers, such as Comcast/NBCUniversal, that discriminate against African American-owned media.
The lawsuit charges the FCC and Charter Communications with having engaged in long-term racial discrimination in contracting with 100% African American-owned media companies. 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% 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.
The lawsuit further states:
- Five years ago, President Obama’s FCC approved Comcast’s acquisition of NBC/Universal with no enforceable conditions to protect African American-owned media.
- The FCC knows that Comcast’s so-called “minority-owned” networks are truly white-owned and controlled, using black celebrities as a front, but has done nothing about it.
- Charter REFUSES to carry 100% African American-owned cable networks.
- Charter’s CEO, Tom Rutledge, has promoted this discriminatory practice for years, while collecting tens of millions of dollars in personal compensation while paying 100% African American-owned media ZERO.
- Charter is now trying to EXPAND its racism by merging with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, and will continue to exclude 100% African American-owned cable networks.
- The Board of Directors of Charter Communications consists entirely of white males. Charter does not even have one woman on its Board of Directors.
- Charter and Tom Rutledge believe Al Sharpton speaks for black people which is very RACIST!!!
- Tom Rutledge refuses to meet with a legitimate owner of 100% African American-owned cable networks, but would rather meet with Al Sharpton and pretend Sharpton speaks for all black people.
"President Obama and the Democratic Party have completely excluded the African-American community when it comes to economic inclusion," said Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Entertainment Studios Networks. "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. Our lawsuit seeks to stop Charter Communications’ ‘Jim Crow’ policies and collusion with elected officials in order to continue its exclusion of 100% African American-owned media. President Obama and the FCC have left 100% 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% African American-owned media. I think they are simply an evil corporation,” said Mark DeVitre, President of NAAAOM. “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.”
"This lawsuit calls into question how these giant media corporations deal with 100% African American-owned media. We are looking forward to our day in Federal Court, and to explaining to the judge and jury the discriminatory way Charter Communications and the FCC have worked hand-in-hand to exclude 100% African American-owned media from economic inclusion. 100% African American-owned media companies, including my clients, have been egregiously harmed. We look forward to obtaining justice for them," said Skip Miller, partner at Miller Barondess, LLP in Los Angeles and lead trial counsel for the plaintiff.
The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court, Central District of California, can be accessed at:
About Entertainment Studios
Entertainment Studios, Inc. owns seven 24-hour HD cable networks: PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, and JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV. The company also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 40 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Entertainment Studios provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, multimedia platforms, and the World Wide Web. Our mission is to provide excellent programming to our viewers, online users, and Fortune 500 advertising partners. Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded the company in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angeles, it has offices in New York, Chicago, Denver, and Raleigh. For more information, visit: www.es.tv
NAAAOM's mission is to eliminate racial discrimination and secure the economic inclusion of truly 100% African American-owned media through fair contracting and equal treatment practices. www.naaaom.com
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