Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has asked the FCC to ignore a petition filed by Byron Allen, accusing the Entertainment Studios Inc. (ESI) mogul of drumming up diversity charges against the MSO merely to secure carriage for his lightly regarded networks.
"The petition is just the latest aspect of a strategy by ESI's owner Byron Allen to use litigation (and now the administrative process) as a means of obtaining his own desired business outcome—the carriage of ESI's suite of networks—that the market has not supported," Comcast said in a filing to the FCC.
Allen is currently in the process of suing Comcast for $20 billion, claiming the cable company blocks access to networks targeted to African-Americans and other minority groups. Last week, Allen filed a petition to the FCC, suggesting Comcast is in violation of mandates made by the agency when it approved the MSO's purchase of NBCUniversal in 2011.
By signing carriage agreements with channels like Aspire, which counts Magic Johnson as a backer, and the Sean Combs-led Revolt TV, Comcast is merely adding channels with prominent African-Americans in figurehead roles, Allen argued in his petition.
"Faced with overwhelming and undeniable evidence that Comcast is a firm supporter not only of networks that are owned by African Americans, but also of African American focused programming, the petitioners have resorted to baseless allegations against Comcast's African-American business partners, whom they offensively label as 'token' and 'window dressing,' because they fail petitioners' made-to-order '100 percent African American-owned' litmus test," Comcast said.
Comcast added that it has more than met the conditions imposed upon it for regulatory approval of the NBCU acquisition.
"Contrary to the petitioners' unsubstantiated allegations, Comcast has not only satisfied the commission's condition on new independent networks, but it has also met the first step of its voluntary commitment on diverse programming," the MSO added.
- read this Comcast FCC filing
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