African-American entertainment mogul Byron Allen and his Entertainment Studios have filed a $10 billion racial discrimination suit against Charter Communications and the FCC, alleging racial discrimination in the way the MSO conducts carriage deals and the way the federal agency regulates them.
"At the direction of its president and chief executive officer, Tom Rutledge, defendant Charter Communications has intentionally excluded African-American-owned media companies, including plaintiff Entertainment Studios, from contracting for carriage on its television distribution platform," said the complaint, which was obtained and reported on by Deadline Hollywood. "Rutledge did this himself and by and through his subordinates, including Allan Singer, Senior Vice President of Programming at Charter," the 27-page filing notes.
Last year, Allen filed a remarkably similar $10 billion discrimination suit against DirecTV. Last month, the satellite carrier ended up signing carriage deals for Entertainment Studios networks Comedy.TV and Justice Central.TV.
As for the FCC portion of the complaint, the plaintiffs said: "A driving purpose of the Federal Communications Act and the First Amendment is to ensure the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse sources. Yet the FCC has done nothing to protect the voices of African-American-owned media companies in the face of increased media consolidation." You can read more about this story on Deadline Hollywood.