L.A. Urban League threatens Comcast with boycott over civil rights battle with Entertainment Studios
Comcast may have a publicity nightmare on their hands thanks to the backlash and threats of a possible boycott in response to an ongoing legal battle with Black media mogul, Byron Allen.
Allen, who is chief of Entertainment Studios, theGrio’s parent company, spent years trying to get cable giants Comcast and Charter Communications to carry his networks, but has been repeatedly denied. He is now immersed in a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Comcast that has made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now, the Los Angeles Urban League is stepping up to galvanize the community to support the business man who believes Comcast and Charter Communications, both refused to carry his television channels on the basis of race.
“We are appalled by your decision to challenge and destroy the federal civil rights statute of 1866 in the U.S. Supreme Court and do so in partnership with the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice,” LAUL said on Wednesday in a scorching letter sent to Comcast chairman, Brian Roberts and Senior EVP David Cohen, according to Deadline.
“If you choose to continue your attempt to eviscerate this civil rights law, we will have no choice but to call for a boycott of everything Comcast, effective immediately,” signed LAUL CEO and President Michael Lawson.
Lawson believes that Entertainment Studios has been denied access to a contract with Comcast because it is African American-owned company, a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in business dealings.
In an August 20 op-ed, Allen explained, “you have one of the biggest media companies in the world, which has been beating up Donald Trump for racism, and now they are saying, we will work together to maintain institutionalized racism in America.”
To Allen’s point, Roberts and Cohen have both presented themselves as agents of inclusion and Cohen is even on the Board of Trustees of the National Urban League, which is why having the LAUL stand in solidarity against them sends a strong message about the disparity between who they say they are in public vs. how they act behind closed doors.
‘What you do now will tell us whether you are truly a supporter of the cause or just an enemy working from the inside trying to control our behavior,” Lawson said in his correspondence. “If you are a supporter of the cause, you will immediately and without condition withdraw your appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
In their fight against Byron Allen, Comcast and now the DOJ have asked SCOTUS for a new interpretation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, specifically section 1981, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and ethnicity when making and enforcing contracts. pic.twitter.com/sKA8A5PlsN
— Los Angeles Urban League (@laurbanleague) August 29, 2019