Comcast settled a long-running racial discrimination dispute with black media mogul Byron Allen, agreeing to add three of Allen’s channels to its cable packages.
Allen sued Comcast for $20 billion in 2015 for refusing to carry seven of his networks, saying it was because of his race. Comcast said it declined to carry the channels because the programming wasn’t original or of sufficient quality. Allen also sued Charter, another cable company, for $10 billion for refusing to carry his networks.
The case made it to the Supreme Court, which in March reversed a lower court ruling in favor of Allen. The Supreme Court said Allen had to show race was the decisive factor in Comcast’s decision not to offer him a contract, not one of several factors. Allen called that ruling “harmful to the civil rights of millions of Americans.”
Comcast and Allen’s company, Entertainment Studios Networks, said Wednesday that Comcast would include the channels Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV in its cable packages. It also extended agreements on the Weather Channel and 14 broadcast stations that Entertainment Studios owns. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Many companies, while pledging solidarity with black employees and black people against injustice, are starting to confront the lack of diversity and allegations of racism in their own organizations.
Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, this Monday pledged $100 million for social justice and said it would accelerate its diversity efforts. Comcast said it would “put the full weight of our company’s media resources behind highlighting Black voices and Black stories.”