WATCH: Antonio Moore on uncomfortable truths about ‘Harriet’ film and Comcast
"If you have a lawsuit in the Supreme Court attacking a civil rights act less than a month away, you don't deserve that support."
Antonio Moore’s new commentary video series on theGrio discusses economics, politics, and wealth, encouraging us to see news of the day in a whole new way.
In this episode, Antonio Moore discusses the new film, Harriet, Comcast, The Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the dots that connect them. Here’s the background:
- On November 13th, a racial discrimination case involving Comcast and Charter Communications will be heard in The Supreme Court.
- Media mogul, Byron Allen (owner of Entertainment Studios, The Weather Channel and theGrio), alleges the companies were specifically in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which prohibits racial discrimination in contracting.
- Due to an amicus brief filed by Comcast, the case has gone from being about Allen’s racial discrimination allegations to challenging the entire The Civil Rights Act of 1866 as we know it. According to legal experts, Comcast’s interpretation of the law would require plaintiffs to prove discrimination was 100 percent the reason they were denied business or contracts.
Moore says it’s ironic that Comcast is attacking the Civil Rights Act of 1866, while at the same time, one of its subsidiaries through NBC Universal, Focus Features, is putting out the film Harriet starring British actress Cynthia Erivo.
“I personally made my own questions… of [Erivo’s] disparaging comments about African-Americans” says Moore, referring to past tweets of Erivo’s, which have raised eyebrows.
So once again, Harriet Tubman's life is an expression of so much that makes African-American descendants of chattel slavery a unique people with a unique lineage, culture & history.
How can you portray her when you dismiss and disrespect that unique lineage, culture and history? pic.twitter.com/oNIqIHUkd9
— 🇺🇸🌴eBoPeep🌴🇺🇸 (@eBoPeep) September 24, 2018
READ MORE: British actress Cynthia Erivo faces ‘Harriet’ backlash due to past tweets mocking Black Americans
“But right now, we’re having the issue about the economics and business behind it all. And what we’re looking at is Harriet Tubman—who was in her 60’s or 70’s when the Civil Rights Act of ’66 has passed—who was there pushing for rights for all Black folks friends of Frederick Douglas, is basically being sold by the same company [and] commercialized by the same company that is attacking a Civil Rights Act of 1866.”
Moore also reveals that ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) has called for a boycott of the Harriet film. He says many members feel it is a tragedy that as African-Americans they can’t support a film about one of our great icons.
“We have to be real about the rights that are present in front of us,” says Moore. “That are being trampled upon and trying to be taken back and the consequence of that. Do we understand the consequence of no longer being able to use Civil Rights Act that sets out the first framework for anyone that’s non-white to do contracting?“
In New Jersey, an ADOS member joined the local NAACP chapter and explained the Comcast lawsuit to the president. They canceled their screenings.
“Many times what happens with these films, African-American films, is that the model for promotion is right around a week before it to screen them with churches and civil rights organizations like the NAACP, ADOS chapters, Urban League. And what happens is that creates the promotional energy for the film. Well, if you have a lawsuit in the Supreme Court attacking a civil rights act less than a month away, you don’t deserve that support.”
Watch Moore’s full video commentary above and hit us in the comments below.
Commentary submissions in our Opinion section reflect the thoughts and views of writers, and are independent from theGrio newsroom. Pitches for editorials can be submitted to email@example.com.