According to Variety, A federal judge has reopened a $20 billion racial bias case filed against Comcast and Time Warner Cable by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks, which claims that Comcast shut out African-American owned channels from its lineups. Allen, who says he will file an amended complaint with “greater detail and greater clarity,” now has until September 21. The National Association of African American Owned Media is a co-plaintiff in the suit.
First filed in February, Allen’s suit also names as defendants the NAACP, the National Urban League, Al Sharpton, the National Action Network, as well as Meredith Attwell Baker, a former Comcast executive and FCC commissioner. The suit claims that, in getting approval for the 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal, Comcast entered into “sham” memorandums of understanding with civil rights groups to cover up its discriminatory business practices.
US District Judge Terry Hatter had dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice earlier this month, concluding that the plaintiffs had “failed to allege a plausible claim for relief,” but then reopened it last week. The burden is on the plaintiffs to overcome Hatter’s original objections. Comcast previously called the suit “frivolous,” while Sharpton said it is without basis.