Friday, January 28, 2022

Byron Allen’s Lawsuit Against Comcast, Al Sharpton, Others Tossed

Byron-Allen*Bryon Allen’s efforts to successfully sue Comcast and Time Warner Cable suffered a major blow as a federal district judge threw the entertainment mogul’s $20 billion lawsuit out on Friday (Aug. 7).

According to Variety, the judge’s decision came upon the grounds that the National Association of African American Owned Media (NAAOM) and Allen’s media company, Entertainment Studios Networks, “failed to allege a plausible claim for relief.”

The judge’s decision caps off a lengthy legal battled that started when the NAAAOM and Entertainment Studios Networks filed the lawsuit in February in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. In addition to Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the NAACP, National Urban League, Rev. Al Sharpton, the National Action Network and former Comcast executive and FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker were named as defendants in the suit.

Variety notes claims made by the NAAAOM and Entertainment Studios Networks that in securing approval for its acquisition of NBC Universal in 2011, Comcast reached memorandums of understanding with various civil rights groups that were a “sham” to “whitewash Comcast’s discriminatory business practices.”

Going further into the lawsuit, the publication detailed that the memorandums called for 10 new independently owned channels to be carried by Comcast. Four of those channels will be owned and managed by African Americans. According to the suit, the only channel Comcast agreed to broadcast that is 100% African American owned is the Africa Channel. Paula Madison, the former chief diversity officer for NBC Universal, owns the Africa Channel and was involved in putting together the memorandums of understanding.

Reacting to the lawsuit, Comcast labeled it “frivolous,” while Sharpton stated that there was “no basis” for the litigation.

Despite losing in court, Allen remained positive while voicing the following in a statement: “knowing that our lawsuit helped the FCC and DOJ deny Comcast’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable is already a big win for us. We are going to immediately appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who I believe will deliver us a favorable decision.”

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