The lawsuit couldn’t have come at a worse time for the companies as they were, at the time, awaiting government approval for an unprecedented merger.
Allen’s suit, filed last December by his Entertainment Studios and the National Association of African American Owned Media, alleged that the companies discriminated against and carried too few minority-owned networks, specifically networks with 100 percent Black ownership.
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.
Of the lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, reps for Entertainment Studios and AT&T would only say: “The matter has been resolved.”
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’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.
The complaint also took a swipe at the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and National Urban League, claiming AT&T was “paying off” civil rights orgs to secure their endorsement of the AT&T-DirecTV merger.