Bad Boy Records and Revolt TV honcho Diddy is speaking out in support of media mogul Byron Allen’s ongoing, contentious, $20 billion lawsuit against media conglomerate Comcast.
In 2015, Allen filed a racial discrimination complaint against Comcast after the cable provider decided not to carry multiple television channels from his company, Entertainment Studios.
According to court documents obtained by Deadline, Allen’s legal team contends that Comcast’s refusal was racially motivated, as the cable provider picked up "lesser-known, white-owned” [networks] only to turn around and “[inform] Entertainment Studios that it had no bandwidth or carriage capacity” for its channels.
The lawsuit has hinged on Section 1981 of the 1866 Civil Rights Act that stipulates non-white business owners and contractors are guaranteed the same rights to contracts as “those enjoyed by white citizens,” according to Deadline. Comcast counter-argued that its final decision came down to business factors, such as viewership, and pointed to their partnership with Diddy’s REVOLT channel as an example of its inclusiveness.
The case is still being litigated in the U.S. Supreme Court, but it has sparked a serious discussion that the legal back-and-forth could possibly have detrimental repercussions on hard-fought civil rights if Comcast wins the dispute.
In response to Comcast using his name as part of their counterargument to Allen’s lawsuit, Diddy took the opportunity to “speak [his] truth” on the matter.
In an official statement published on REVOLT.com this Thursday (Nov. 21), he sided with Allen, writing that “Comcast is choosing to be on the wrong side of history.” In his lengthy address, the hip-hop mogul underscored how Comcast’s “legal tactics” are putting “the civil rights of millions of African Americans and other minorities” at risk.
He pointed out that “if [Comcast is] successful, it will become much harder for any victim of discrimination to seek justice in court" going forward.
He further added that “[REVOLT’s] relationship with Comcast is the illusion of economic inclusion,” as he detailed the lack of support his company has received as a minority channel on the country’s largest cable TV and internet service provider.
“The start we received from Comcast, which was a condition of the United States government approval for Comcast to acquire NBCUniversal, was important, but it is not the level of support needed to build a successful African American owned network. Not even close,” Diddy wrote.
He continued: “Since that launch our relationship has not grown, and REVOLT is still not carried by Comcast in the most affordable packages nor is REVOLT available in all of the markets that would enable us to serve our target audience.”
Diddy further noted that Comcast spends “billions of dollars on content networks every year, but just a few million go to African American owned networks like REVOLT.”
“Rather than using this case to diminish the civil rights protections of millions of Americans, Comcast should use this as an opportunity to listen to a community it relies on and, above all, do better,” he signed off on the message.
Read the rest of Diddy’s official statement in full here.
(Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)