The National Association of African American-Owned Media’s claims of racial discrimination led by TV executive Byron Allen against television mainstay Comcast will be brought to the Supreme Court for opening arguments today.

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ESN or Entertainment Studios, a television network owned and operated by Allen, filed charges against Comcast after the corporation wouldn’t agree to do business. Allen claimed Comcast refused because he’s black and his lawsuit pointed to Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which says that all people should have “the same right … to make and enforce contracts … as is enjoyed by white citizens.”

Comcast said in a statement that the case is a “meritless $20 billion claim.”


“This case cannot detract from Comcast’s strong civil rights and diversity record or our outstanding record of supporting and fostering diverse programming from African-American owned channels. There has been no finding of discriminatory conduct by Comcast against this plaintiff by any court, and there has been none,” Comcast’s statement continued.

The case will mostly focus on a legal term known as “but-for causation”i.e. if Allen were not black, would Comcast have declined to enter into a contract with Entertainment Studios?

The NAACP accused Comcast in September of asking the Supreme Court to weaken protections laid out in the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The organization published a statement on Thursday pleading with Comcast Comcast to “cease its attack on Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.”