LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Byron Allen and his Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. announced today that Federal District Court Judge George H. Wu has once again denied Charter Communications’ Motion to Dismiss Allen’s $10 billion lawsuit against Charter for racial discrimination in contracting in violation of Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. §1981. Just as the court ruled in Allen’s favor back in October 2016, the lawsuit will now move forward.
Although Charter appealed Wu’s original 2016 decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Wu’s ruling was upheld by the Ninth Circuit in November 2018. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Charter Communications can’t use its First Amendment freedom and the precedent of the 1995 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hurley case (Hurley v. Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston) as a cable provider to escape a claim that it refused a carriage deal with an African American-owned media company due to racial bias. The Ninth Circuit ruled that racial discrimination can be proven using a lower “contributing factor” standard, and not the highest “but for” standard.
Charter appealed the Ninth Circuit’s November 2018 ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. In March 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Allen needed to prove racial discrimination under the highest “but for” standard, which some legal experts said is a nearly-impossible standard for Allen to achieve. By ruling in Allen’s favor today, Judge Wu has indicated that he believes Allen has met that very high strict standard, and the case against Charter is now going forward. After more than five years, Allen may now proceed against Charter with pre-trial initial disclosures and commence discovery.
“Charter once again tried to claim in a court of law that the First Amendment gives them the right to discriminate against Black people. This is a despicable, racist legal position, and I’m highly-confident Charter CEO Tom Rutledge and the Charter Board of Directors will be held fully accountable,” said Byron Allen, Founder/Chairman/CEO of Entertainment Studios/Allen Media Group. “Charter has now been told by Judge Wu twice, and the Ninth Circuit, that the First Amendment does not give anyone the right to discriminate against 100 million minorities in this country. In the Hurley case, parade organizers in Boston did not want gay people in their parade, and the parade organizers prevailed by using the First Amendment to discriminate against gay people, and unfortunately, this miscarriage of justice was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1995. Charter sent their high-powered lawyer, Patrick Philbin, who defended Donald Trump in his impeachment hearings, into the courtroom to represent them. Charter and their lawyers should have denounced that horrible Hurley decision, but instead relied on this legal precedent of discrimination against gay people and tried to use this legal precedent in a civil rights case against Black people. This tells us everything we need to know about Charter under CEO Tom Rutledge. Charter’s legal defense is the epitome of systemic racism. Charter will continue to lose this case, and I am going to make an example of them for all of America to see, because structural racism will not be tolerated. Systemic racism kills us in the schoolroom, kills us in the boardroom, and kills us in the courtroom, long before it kills us in the streets.”
About Entertainment Studios / Allen Media Group Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded Entertainment Studios in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angeles, it has offices in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and Raleigh. Entertainment Studios owns 16 U.S. Big-Four network affiliate broadcast television stations and eight 24-hour HD television networks/streaming services serving nearly 180 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, and JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV. Entertainment Studios will add its ninth network, THE WEATHER CHANNEL EN ESPANOL in 2021. Entertainment Studios also owns the LOCAL NOW streaming service, powered by THE WEATHER CHANNEL and content partners, which delivers real-time, hyper-local news, weather, traffic, sports, and lifestyle information. Entertainment Studios also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 67 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. Entertainment Studios International Television continues to extend the ES corporate branding and content around the globe. It currently has active license agreements and programming in South Africa, The United Arab Emirates, Australia, The Bahamas, Canada and New Zealand. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Entertainment Studios provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, multimedia platforms, and the World Wide Web. Our mission is to provide excellent programming to our viewers, online users, and Fortune 500 advertising partners.
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures is a full-service, theatrical motion picture distribution company specializing in wide release commercial content. ESMP released 2017’s highest-grossing independent movie, the shark thriller 47 METERS DOWN, which grossed over $44.3 million. In 2018, ESMP also released the critically-acclaimed and commercially successful Western HOSTILES, the historic mystery-thriller CHAPPAQUIDDICK and the sequel to 47 METERS DOWN, 47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED. The digital distribution unit of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures, Freestyle Digital Media, is a premiere multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, digital and streaming platforms. Capitalizing on a robust infrastructure, proven track record and a veteran sales team, Freestyle Digital Media is a true home for independent films.
In 2016, Entertainment Studios purchased TheGrio, a digital video-centric news community platform devoted to providing African-Americans with compelling stories and perspectives currently underrepresented in existing national news outlets. TheGrio features aggregated and original video packages, news articles and opinion pieces on topics that include breaking news, politics, health, business and entertainment. Originally launched in 2009, the platform was then purchased by NBC News in 2010. The digital platform remains focused on curating exciting digital content and currently has more than 20 million annual visitors.
For more information, visit: www.entertainmentstudios.com
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