The three-week carriage war between Altice USA and Starz escalated over the weekend, when the star and executive producer of one of the premium cable network's shows posted a video on Instagram in which he appears to ominously follow an Optimum-branded Altice installation van.
In a profanity-laced video posted on his Instagram page (again, language warning here), rap star turned premium cable series talent 50 Cent appears to suggest while driving his car that the unseen tech driving the van in front of him should put the Starz series he stars in and executive producers, "Power," back on the Optimum cable system, pronto, otherwise the rapper might rear end him.
The Queens-based rapper has previously used his Instagram account to aid Starz's rhetorical battle amid the three-week blackout of Starz on Optimum. And it's very questionable whether 50 Cent, a notably dedicated actor and overall series talent, is really threatening the tech, or just putting on a show to benefit the network backing his production.
For its part, Altice seems to be taking this all pretty seriously: "The safety of our employees and customers is our number one priority and it is outrageous that a commercial dispute has led to the threat of violence against our employees," said Altice spokesperson Lisa Anselmo, in a statement emailed to Fierce over the weekend. "This behavior is reprehensible and should not be tolerated, and we will do everything in our power to protect our employees following this public threat of violence."
Starz reps didn't respond to inquires for comment.
Sixteen Starz premium networks have been off Altice's Optimium systems in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut since New Years day.