Well, that escalated quickly.
One day after Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) sent a note asking the FCC to ignore Byron Allen and his diversity complaints, the African-American media mogul issued a fiery statement, saying, "The real issue here is these racist white executives are not used to an African American man holding them accountable.
And Allen's shots weren't confined to Comcast.
"Charter Communications has an all-white male board, consisting of 16 members. No women. No Asians. No Hispanics. No African-Americans. How shameful in 2016," Allen said.
"The cable industry spends $70 billion a year licensing cable networks and 100 percent African American-owned media receives zero. This is completely unacceptable," Allen added.
Caught in the crossfire, Charter reps didn't immediately respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment.
Allen's Entertainment Studios owns seven cable networks. In several lawsuits and FCC complaints, he has accused operators including Comcast, Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) and AT&T (NYSE: T) of denying networks that are 100-percent owned by African-Americans, favoring channels that he says merely have black figureheads. Allen named Aspire, which is backed by Magic Johnson, as well as Revolt, which counts Sean Combs as a major investor.
Last week, Allen accused Comcast of violating its NBCUniversal diversity mandates, and the MSO responded by saying that the mogul's diversity claims are merely a cynical attempt to gain coverage for his networks.
"Comcast says our cable networks are not getting support.That is not true," Allen said. "Entertainment Studios has seven 24-hour HD networks, the largest privately-held portfolio of cable networks in the world, with approximately 80 million subscribers."
Perhaps coincidentally — or not — Comcast's hometown newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, ran a glowing profile today of Keesha Boyd, the MSO's executive director for multicultural consumer services, who helps the company target African-American audiences.
"There are times you want to watch general-market content, and then there are times that you want to browse or dig deeply into content that speaks to black identity," Boyd told the paper.
- read this Byron Allen statement
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer story
Comcast to FCC: Ignore Byron Allen, he's just trying to get carriage
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