The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear a Comcast appeal in a case centering on whether the telecommunications giant discriminated against an African American-owned TV network operator by refusing to carry the company’s channels on its cable service.
The case involves Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), which claimed that Comcast’s refusal to carry ESN channels was racially motivated. Comcast tried to get the case thrown out of court before the central claim of racial bias could be ruled upon. But in November 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that the case can move forward to a trial, saying that a US District Court improperly granted Comcast’s motion to dismiss ESN’s complaint.
Comcast subsequently petitioned the Supreme Court to take up the case. It told the court that ESN’s claim is based on the purported existence of “an outlandish racist plot against ‘100% African American-owned media companies’—a contrived racial category gerrymandered to include Plaintiffs and virtually no one else.”