Comcast defends civil rights record as discrimination lawsuit heads to Supreme Court

Byron Allen
Byron Allen (Entertainment Studios)

Comcast is defending its civil rights and diversity record as it prepares for a U.S. Supreme Court showdown with Entertainment Studios over a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit filed against the cable giant.

A Comcast spokesperson said in a statement that there has been no finding of discriminatory conduct by Comcast against this plaintiff by any court and that the trial court dismissed plaintiffs’ claims of race discrimination three times.

“Comcast has an outstanding record of supporting and fostering diverse programming, including programming from African-American owned channels, two more of which we launched earlier this year,” said a Comcast spokesperson. “This appeal is solely about a technical point of law that was decided in a novel, and we believe, incorrect way by the Ninth Circuit. We hope the Supreme Court will reverse the Ninth Circuit’s clearly erroneous interpretation of the law and bring this case to an end.”

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Comcast’s response comes after earlier this week Entertainment Studios' founder and CEO Byron Allen accused the company of working together with the Trump Administration’s U.S. Department of Justice to stifle a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and its prohibition against racial discrimination in contracting.

Allen said that after losing twice in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Comcast petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case on the position that a plaintiff must show that racial discrimination was the only motivating factor in Comcast not doing business with Entertainment Studios.

“In this case, that means that Entertainment Studios would have to prove that race was the only reason Comcast refused to do business with it, not simply a major reason,” said Allen in a statement. “The impact, of course, is to make it much, much harder for me and other Americans, today and in the future, to secure economic inclusion.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on November 13.