Dr. Bernice King Slams Comcast over Attack on Civil Rights Law

King weighs in on Byron Allen's $20 billion lawsuit against the industry giant.

King wrote a letter to Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, detailing her grievances with the company’s pending Supreme Court lawsuit against media mogul Byron Allen.

What We Know:

  • On November 13, the Supreme Court will hear a historic $20 billion dollar lawsuit against the telecommunications conglomerate. Allen sued the company after they refused to pick up channels from his company, Entertainment Studios. He alleges that the company refused his business because of his race. Read a full breakdown of the case here.

  • Allen’s case hinges on section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which prohibits racial discrimination when enforcing contracts. Comcast is arguing that Allen should have to prove that his race was the sole reason his channels were not picked up. If Allen loses, it will void the protections that the legislation was created to provide.

  • In her letter, King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., warns, “We must be very careful not to accelerate the various forms of violence, including racism, by taking steps back from the goal of justice.” She continues, “We are alarmed at the consequences of a Supreme Court ruling that could have cataclysm results for people of color, who comprise a large segment of your customers and who are yet and still enduring the damage of systemic and cultural racism in the United States.”

  • King urged Roberts to reflect on what is at stake. In the letter’s conclusion, she asks Roberts a couple of burning questions. The letter reads, “Are you prepared to say business decisions based on racism are acceptable if combined with other non-racist reasons? Do you believe in your heart racism in modest doses should be permitted in American society, let alone in business contracts?”

  • Many are siding with Allen against the company. Several prominent politicians are backing him as well. Sen. Kamala Harris filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief on his behalf which was signed by Sen. Corey Booker and eight members of the Congressional Black Caucus. But, Comcast has their own amicus briefing, which came straight from the Department of Justice. It will surely be a tough battle in court. 

We will continue to follow this case and provide updates.

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Digital News Intern, UnmutedCo. Black News Alerts University of North Carolina at Charlotte B.A. Communication Studies/Journalism 2021

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