Charter Communications has failed in an attempt to get dismissal of a $10 billion discrimination suit filed against it by against it by African-American programming mogul Byron Allen.
The unsuccessful motion comes five months after Comcast managed to get a similar $20 billion motion filed by Allen tossed.
“Defendant presents a two-pronged argument for why plaintiff’s claim should … be dismissed,” Federal Judge George Wu said in his ruling, obtained by Deadline Hollywood. “First, it argues that plaintiffs have not eliminated – indeed, the FAC reveals – the possibility that the reasons for defendant’s refusal to contract were not race-based at all, but were due to legitimate business considerations. Second, somewhat linked to that first argument, defendant asserts that plaintiff is required to demonstrate not just that racial animus was one contributing fact.”
Allen’s suit, filed on behalf of his Entertainment Studios and the National Association of African-American Owned Media, also names the FCC as a defendant. It accused the cable company of limiting carriage opportunities for independent channels backed by African Americans. The FCC, it contended, is part of the problem, failing to enact sufficient program diversity rules as part of its conditions for Charter’s purchase of Time Warner Cable earlier this year.
“The FCC has done nothing to protect the voices of African-American-owned media companies in the face of increased media consolidation,” the suit said.
"This lawsuit is a desperate tactic that this programmer has used before with other distributors. We will not comment further at this time,” Charter rep Justin Venech said in an email to FierceCable.
Added Allen’s Los Angeles-based attorney, Skip Miller: “We have evidence of racial bias harbored by top level Charter executives with decision-making authority, and allege, in detail, the discriminatory treatment [Entertainment Studios] suffered at the hands of these executives.”