Public Enemy #1 - November 2019
Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen's case against the telecommunications powerhouse, disputing an 1866 statue, is set to be heard before the Supreme Court.
Byron, who owns a host of television networks first took up the $20 billion lawsuit in 2015. The suit, which also included a complaint against Charter Communications, alleged that the companies were in violation of the civil rights act and Allen was being discriminated against.
The lower courts originally ruled in favor of the corporations, prompting Allen to appeal to the San Francisco Court of Appeals, which ruled in his favor.
Allen also stands on opposing sides of prominent civil rights groups. Back in 2010, Comcast met with representatives from including Al Sharpton, the National Urban League, the NAACP and National Action Network to reach agreements to include black-owned programming. However, Allen holds steady that the company has not supported economic inclusion for black people, despite their business dealings.
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren also weighed in on the case on Twitter, noting its broad implications on civil rights
All of this taken into account, it can be difficult to simply draw a conclusion on any potential discriminatory practices. While the details are very much hearsay, the Goliath that is Comcast remains as the Public Enemy of the Month. Rather than looking to negotiate with Allen and work out differences to sort the issue, the corporation has upped the ante in the matters. Taking the case to the Supreme Court not only affects the outcome for Allen and his six cable networks but for anyone in the business environment with contract and employment disputes in the future. The legislation of discussion, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which Comcast is arguing that the plaintiff (in this case Allen) must prove that race was the primary factor in the issue, rather than a contributing factor for which the statute currently stands. If the Supreme Court is to rule in Comcast's favor, it would change the precedent of the law, potentially having grave consequences for oppressed groups or individuals across industry.
While protections of the law can only go so far with the power they are given, taking them away just opens the door for bias to kick in and progress to begin to creep backward.
See what Twitter had to say about the suit below: