Byron Allen, Comcast Settle Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Despite a previous setback ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, litigants in the case involving Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks and Comcast June 11 announced they have made nice, entering into a content carriage arrangement that extends and amends terms for The Weather Channel and 14 broadcast television stations.

The companies announced that pending litigation between the two organizations has been withdrawn. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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Allen and the National Association of African-American Owned Media in 2015 alleged Comcast worked to keep black-owned media networks off its platform. The Court in March ruled unanimously to send the case back to the appellate level, arguing Allen needed to better prove bias on behalf of Comcast.

The new carriage deal includes distribution of Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV on X1 and video on demand and TV everywhere rights for those networks. Comcast will also launch the free ad-supported digital app, Local Now, on the Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms, and Xfinity customers who receive The Weather Channel will have access in the coming months to its weloveweather.tv website and app on an authenticated basis.

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“We’re excited to begin a new phase of partnership with Comcast and Xfinity, including the distribution of our cable channels for the first time on Xfinity platforms,” Allen said in a statement.

Bec Heap, SVP of video and entertainment at Comcast Cable, said the pay-TV operator was pleased to move past litigation and iron out a mutually beneficial deal.

“We are pleased to have reached this multifaceted agreement that continues our long relationship with The Weather Channel while bringing Xfinity customers additional content,” We look forward to an ongoing partnership,” Heap said.

Comcast corporate earlier this week pledged $100 million to assist minority-based businesses and social justice organizations.

Allen’s separate litigation against Spectrum continues.

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Byron Allen’s $20 Billion Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Comcast

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Byron Allen, CEO of Entertainment Studio and owner of The Weather Channel, against Comcast Cable.

Allen also co-owns with Sinclair Broadcast Group 21 regional sports networks acquired from Disney following its purchase of 20th Century Fox.

The suit, filed in 2015 by Allen and the National Association of African American Owned Media, alleged Comcast worked to keep black-owned media networks off its platform.

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The suit was dismissed in federal court and then overturned last November by the Ninth Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Comcast, which appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, denies it has engaged in a discriminatory manner, saying it carries more than 100 networks targeting diverse audiences.

“We believe the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision was incorrectly decided,” Comcast said in a statement. “At this stage, the case is about a technical point of law that was decided in a novel way by the Ninth Circuit. We hope the Supreme Court will reverse the Ninth Circuit’s unusual interpretation of the law and bring this case to an end.”

Allen said Comcast upped its content diversity only after his litigation.

“This case is not about African American-themed programming, but is about African American ownership of networks,” said Allen. “Unfortunately, the networks Comcast refers to as ‘African American-owned’ are not wholly-owned by African Americans and did not get any carriage until I stood up and spoke out about this discrimination and economic exclusion.”