Byron Allen has ended his years-long legal battle with Comcast Corp. over alleged racism.
As part of a settlement announced Thursday, Comcast will carry Allen’s Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV — via its Xfinity cable television packages, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The cable giant also agreed to extend the distribution deal for the Weather Channel, which Allen acquired in 2018, and 14 broadcast stations that his Entertainment Studios owns. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, however, both sides said they were pleased.
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“We’re excited to begin a new phase of partnership with Comcast and Xfinity, including the distribution of our cable channels for the first time on Xfinity platforms,” Allen said in a statement. “I am very happy with the deal and Comcast and I look forward to a mutually-rewarding, long-term relationship.”
Added Bec Heap, Comcast senior vice president for video and entertainment: “We are pleased to have reached this multifaceted agreement that continues our long relationship with the Weather Channel while bringing Xfinity customers additional content.”
Allen filed the $20 billion lawsuit against Comcast and other cable giants in 2015, claiming they refused to carry lifestyle channels run by his Los Angeles-based Entertainment Studios because he’s Black.
His attorneys cited a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which says all people should have “the same right” to contracts as whites.
Comcast and the other cable companies countered that race had nothing to do with their decisions, saying they were based on limited capacity and a lack of interest in the type of programming Allen was offering through his channels, including Pets.TV, Cars.TV and Comedy.TV.
The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in March reversed a lower court ruling in favor of Allen. The High Court ruled that the media mogul must prove race was the sole reason Comcast refused to carry his channels if the case was to move forward.
The Supreme Court then sent the case back to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but on Thursday Allen agreed to withdraw the lawsuit as part of the settlement.