Entertainment Studios (ES) and the National Association of African-American Owned Media (NAAAOM) filed federal lawsuits against Comcast and Charter Communications, two of the biggest cable television carriers in the country—$20 billion against Comcast and $10 billion against Charter—for violating the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, prohibiting racial discrimination in contracting.
“The lack of true economic inclusion for African Americans will end with me, and these rulings show that I am unwavering in my commitment to achieving this long overdue goal.” – Byron Allen
Entertainment Studios owns eight 24-hour HD television networks serving nearly 160 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, and JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV. The company also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 41 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations.
For years, Entertainment Studios has been requesting that Comcast and Charter carry its networks, which are distributed by Comcast and Charter’s competitors, including Verizon, DirecTV, AT&T, DISH, and many other carriers.
Comcast and Charter rebuffed Allen’s requests for network carriage so he filed lawsuits in federal district court in Los Angeles entitled National Association of African American-Owned Media, et al. v. Comcast Corporation, Case No. 2:15-cv-01239-TJH-MAN (C.D. Cal.) and National Association of African American-Owned Media, et al. v. Charter Communications, Case No. 2:16-cv-00609-GW-FFM (C.D. Cal.).
This week, two historically significant decisions were made by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. They rejected Comcast and Charter’s attempts to dismiss the cases before trial.
The Court upheld Entertainment Studios’ Section 1981 claims against both Comcast and Charter; and instead ruled that both cases could proceed in the trial courts to discovery and trial.
“These decisions are hugely important in terms of opening the courts to African American-owned media. The Court paved the way to our eventual success at trial by ensuring that the proper ‘mixed motive’ standard for our claims – a lower standard of proof than the ‘but for’ standard argued by Comcast and Charter – applies,” said Entertainment Studios’ attorney, Skip Miller, partner in Miller Barondess.
“Additionally, the Court dismissed Charter’s and Comcast’s attempts to use the First Amendment as a shield for their alleged discrimination. I very much look forward to trying these cases. And I give Mr. Allen tremendous credit for having the will and the constitution to invest the capital and resources to pursue them relentlessly.”
Earlier this year, Byron Allen’s television production company, Entertainment Studios, acquired The Weather Channel from its previous owners: Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal and private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital.
Gabrielle Union Fired From “America’s Got Talent” For Speaking Up About Racism & Sexism
Gabrielle Union was the #1 talent on network TV for 2019. ‘America’s Got Talent decided not to renew her contract after being the #1 talent on the show. Why?
So when i got the news that my wife was being fired—my first question was obviously why!? Iam still waiting on a good answer to that question. But if anyone knows @itsgabrielleu or have heard of her you know she’s an advocate for our community and culture.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) November 27, 2019
Season 14 of America’s Got Talent ran from May to September of this year, crowning Kodi Lee as its winner. Terry Crews was introduced as this seasons new permanent host, as well as the addition of Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union as judges joining Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel at the judges table. The two replaced longtime judges Melanie Brown (Spice Girls) and model-host Heidi Klum.
On November 22nd multiple sources confirmed that Gabrielle Union & Julianne Hough would not be returning to the judges chair on their NBC hit show. According to reports from LoveBScott, the firing came as a result of Gabrielle Union speaking up about ‘problematic’ situations, including racism, sexism, and more.
A source from NBC told the outlet the following about Union’s reported firing:
“[Gabrielle’s] contract was not renewed after being the #1 talent on the show, NBC and network TV. She set the record for her Golden Buzzer. They only replace the women and blacks at Simon’s whim. She wouldn’t walk away from $12 million because she’s ‘busy.’ Based on weekly interactions on social media, by the time AGT finale aired Gabrielle was the #1 talent on network TV for 2019. Why not pick up someone’s option in extreme success?”
The source also alleges that the firing had nothing to do with either judge’s popularity–because both received more interactions than Howie Mandel, who still has a job.
“Social media engagement is the new measuring stick for talent and Simon isn’t on social media. Juliane and Gabrielle were both way higher ranked/engaged than Howie. The idea the network wants to ‘switch things up’ only applies to women and Black folks. Nick Cannon wasn’t crazy. He walked away from 8-figures over how [AGT] operates.”
Nick Cannon quit “America’s Got Talent” in 2017 after hosting 8 seasons. after being “threatened with termination by executives” over a joke he made about NBC on a Showtime comedy special.
“I was to be punished for a joke … My soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices. Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so-called unruly actions,” he wrote on Facebook. “I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head.”
Issa Rae Announces New Record Label, Raedio
Writer, director, producer, and now music executive.
Issa Rae has launched a new business venture, “Raedio”, a record label in partnership with Atlantic Records.
“Music has always been an essential part of every project I do and working with emerging talent is a personal passion,” — Variety
The writer, director, producer, and now music executive took to Instagram to announce the first artist signed to Raedio, Teamarrr
Atlantic Records Chairman & COO Julie Greenwald said in a statement, “Issa Rae is a next-level, future-thinking creative force who’s been breaking down cultural barriers and conquering one field after another. She’s made music a central character in her artistic evolution, and now she’s brought all that amazing passion, inspiration, and taste to the formation of Raedio. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Issa and her team on this exciting new venture, and TeaMarrr is the perfect artist to launch with.”
— The Raedio (@TheRaedio) October 21, 2019
Issa Rae plans to service emerging artists and creators at the highest level. Raedio will provide music supervision for Issa Rae’s HBO show, ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show’ as well as other upcoming studio projects.
“Raedio allows me to continue that work within the music industry and audio entertainment space. The Atlantic Records team are innovators in terms of shifting and shaping culture. I’m excited to join forces with them to discover new artists.”
Suge Knight Signs Over Life Rights To Ray J
The founder of Death Row Records has entrusted his business handlings to Ray J while he spends time behind bars.
According to TMZ, Suge Knight has trusted Ray J with his life rights provided that Ray J makes lucrative financial decisions on behalf of his name while he is in prison. Suge Knight was sentenced to 28 years in prison last year with credit for time already served. He ran over 2 men, killing record label owner Terry Kennedy leaving a Tam’s Burgers in Compton where Dr. Dre was filming footage for the 2015 NWA biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’.
So Ray J is Brandy’s little brother. Grew up w/ Snoop, Big, Tupac, & Suge. Is a Blood. Dated Whitney Houston. Made Kim K famous. Had several bops. Pushed Princess in the pool, then married her. Made Scooty-Bike a million dollar company. Owns Suge’s life rights. And he’s only 38..
— cam 🌸 (@andimcam) October 21, 2019
Ray J apparently already has plans with the new venture, reportedly shopping around new projects including documentaries about Suge Knight, Death Row, and a Tupac biopic. He potentially could even bring back Death Row Records if the right investors came along.
This is another lucrative investment for Ray J who already has successful business ventures in music, motorized scooters, headphones, and cannabis. His cannabis business negotiated a healthy $1 million deal back in August
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