Updated: June 10, 2019 / 9:54 a.m.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the bid of cable television operator, Comcast, to remove comedian and producer Byron Allen’s racial bias lawsuit which is accusing the company of discriminating against black-owned channels.
The justices will be reviewing a decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which cleared the way for a $20 billion civil rights lawsuit against Comcast to proceed.
At issue in the litigation is the refusal made by Comcast to carry channels operated by Entertainment Studios Networks, owned by Byron Allen, who is black.
The justices have not acted on a similar appeal by Charter Communications which involved claims by Allen after the company also declined to carry his channels. That case likely will be guided by the outcome in Comcast’s appeal.
Both Comcast and Charter have claimed that their decisions were based on capacity constraints, not race, and that Allen’s channels, including Justice Central.TV, Cars.TV, Pets.TV and Comedy.TV did not show sufficient promise or customer demand to merit distribution. Other television distributors, including Verizon, AT&T, and DirecTV, carry some of Allen’s programming, court papers said.