Byron Allen is taking on Comcast and Time Warner Cable in a $20 billion discrimination suit.
Allen, whose television production and distribution company Entertainment Studios includes such companies as Justice Central, Cars.TV and Comedy.TV, claims that Comcast and Time Warner have continued to block his attempts to get distribution for his channels onto their cable networks.
Allen believes that his inability to get distribution comes from a lack of diversity, since Comcast and Time Warner have allowed partially minority-owned networks access but have essentially blocked 100 percent minority-owned businesses.
“100% African American–owned media has been shut out by Comcast,” the lawsuit alleges. “Of the approximately $11 billion in channel carriage fees that Comcast pays to license television channels each year, less than $3 million is paid to 100% African American–owned media.”
Comcast said on Monday that the lawsuit was “frivolous” and noted that it had been engaged in “good faith negotiations” with Allen to establish a carriage deal for the channels.
“We are proud of our outstanding record supporting and fostering diverse programming, including programming from African American owned and controlled cable channels,” Comcast said Monday in its statement, referencing a 2011 agreement with the federal government to establish more minority channels.
“We currently carry more than 100 networks geared toward diverse audiences, including multiple networks owned or controlled by minorities,” Comcast said.
The lawsuit comes at a bad time for Comcast while the cable giant is trying to get the government’s okay on a $45 billion takeover of Time Warner.
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