Attorney Antonio Moore interviews President of the Los Angeles Urban League Michael Lawson on his recent open letter on the Supreme Court case involving Comcast and Civil Rights Act of 1866.
September 4, 2019
Mr. Brian Roberts
Chairman & CEO
Mr. David L. Cohen
Senior Executive Vice President
1701 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Dear Mr. Roberts and Mr. Cohen:
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.
It is clear from your actions that you have conceded that race was a significant, if not the only, factor in your refusal to negotiate a contract in good faith and that your only pathway to success is to eviscerate a 153-year old civil rights statute, set back civil rights for millions of Americans and embolden the racist elements throughout om country, which grow stronger on a daily basis. If this is not your goal, you should immediately and without condition withdraw your appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
If your goal is to dismantle the civil rights gains that have been secured with the lives, blood, sweat and tears of countless generations through the 400 years that have passed since the commencement of the legal enslavement of Africans in this country, you should be clear about your intentions and resign as officers of your corporation, Comcast.
Mr. Roberts, you, along with almost 200 members of the Business Roundtable, signed an open letter calling for corporations to “foster diversity and inclusion” and “respect the people in our communities.” Yet, you now want to destroy a federal civil rights statute in the U.S. Supreme Court with the help of Donald Trump’s Department of Justice. As leaders of a major American, publicly-traded corporation providing critical news, information, and broadband connectivity to millions of people, you should be working to enhance the civil rights of your subscribers, investors, viewers, advertisers, not diminish them.
You should not challenge our civil rights in the U.S. Supreme Court and foster institutionalized racism with the help of Donald Trump.
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. We will bring this matter to the attention of (1) your regulators, including, without limitation the Federal Communications Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission; (2) your investors, many of whom demand that the public companies in which they invest adhere to basic tenets of civil rights values; (3) your
NBC/MSNBC/CNBC/USA/BRAVO/E! viewers, millions of whom look to your networks’ journalistic and editorial practices as paragons of American ethics and morals; (4) your advertisers, many of which have withdrawn their advertising dollars from other media platforms that have shown hostility or insensitivity to the civil rights of African Americans and other minorities; and (5) your subscribers, millions of whom are African .American or other ethnic minorities subject to the protection of the Civil Rights Act.
And last but not least, Mr. Cohen, as a member of the Board of Trustees of The National Urban League, one of America’s longest, long-standing civil rights organizations, 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. If you a1·e a supporter of the cause, you will immediately and without condition withdraw your appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Michael A. Lawson
President & CEO