“Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has secured distribution for its seven cable channels across DirecTV and U-verse now that AT&T has settled a racial discrimination lawsuit filed in December 2014. DirecTV began carriage of Entertainment Studios’ Comedy.TV and Justice Central.TV on Monday. U-verse has added Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, ES.TV, MyDestination.TV, Cars TV and Pets TV; U-verse already carried Justice Central.TV…The AT&T deal greatly enhances the distribution base and value of the lifestyle and entertainment channels, which are wholly owned by Allen, a comedian turned entrepreneur. DirecTV and U-verse together reach nearly 26 million domestic subscribers, with U-verse accounting for about 6 million subscribers.. Allen has a similar racial discrimination lawsuit pending against Comcast and Time Warner Cable. In the complaint against AT&T, the National Association of African-American Owned Media, an affiliate of Century City-based Entertainment Studios, claimed racial discrimination over the fact that Entertainment Studio had no luck securing a carriage deal with DirecTV after years of trying to engage executives in negotiations. The suit came as AT&T was vulnerable to PR concerns about its image in dealing with independent programmers and minority-owned businesses. The telco giant was in the midst of securing federal approval for its $48 billion takeover of DirecTV, which closed in July. Allen’s complaint blasted AT&T for having no carriage agreements with ‘100% African-American-owned media companies.’ It made a provocative reference to what it called the practice of African-American celebrities posing as ‘fronts’ for channels owned by ‘white-owned media,’ without naming names.”

Congratulations! And the “front” part is true. Many predominately white companies in entertainment do this. For example, in Leonard case, William Morris turned their client a Magic Johnson into a concert promoter so that it created the illusion that they were giving blacks an equal opportunity to promote shows. Magic has promoted a show since the federal court ruled in William Morris’ favor.

Source: Cynthia Littleton. “AT&T Settles Bryon Allen’s Racial Discrimination Lawsuit, Picks UP 7 Channels.” Variety. December 28, 2015. http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/byron-allen-att-racial-discrimination-lawsuit-channels-1201668233/

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