Things could worsen for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Charter Communications after being sued for $10 billion in federal court by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios and the National Association of African-American Owned Media (NAAAOM).
They are accused of “racial discrimination in contracting for television channel carriage.” In a press statement reacting to the matter, Allen said it is all about diversity that they are crying for. Allen noted that discriminating one because of his/her color or race is archaic and unwelcome in the modern era where people have known to tolerate each other.
“President Obama and the Democratic Party have completely excluded the African-American community when it comes to economic inclusion. Everyone talks about diversity, but diversity in Hollywood and the media starts with ownership. African-Americans don’t need handouts and donations; we can hire ourselves if white corporate America does business with us in a fair and equitable way.”
He added; “A driving purpose of the Federal Communications Act and the First Amendment is to ensure the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse sources.” In the lawsuit, both parties have argued that FCC has failed in its mandate to protect the voices of African-American-owned media companies in the face of increased media consolidation. Of great concern to them is the merger between Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications.
They accuse FCC of working with the companies to facilitate violation of their Civil Rights. “The FCC’s apparent standard operating procedure is to obtain and accept sham diversity commitments from merger applicants, in excess of its statutory duties,” they said in the lawsuit. Charter President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Rutledge is accused of giving directions to intentionally exclude African-American-owned media companies from contracting for carriage on its television distribution platform.
“Rutledge did this himself and by and through his subordinates, including Allan Singer, Senior Vice President of Programming at Charter.”