Supreme Court to hear racial discrimination case against Comcast

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The Supreme Court said that it would hear a case alleging that Comcast discriminated against an African-American owned media company in declining to take up its channels. The justices said in an unsigned order that the court will consider whether the network needs to prove that Comcast meant to act in a discriminatory way in the case. Byron Allen, the owner of the Entertainment Studios Network (ESN), alleged that Comcast violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866 in rejecting to carry his channels. His network initially lost its case in district court, but that ruling was overturned by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The judges wrote in that decision that “[e]ven if racial animus was not the but-for cause of a defendant’s refusal to contract, a plaintiff can still prevail if she demonstrates that discriminatory intent was a factor in that decision." Comcast had asked the Supreme Court to take up the case, alleging that ESN's claims are "based on an outlandish racist conspiracy between Comcast, the NAACP, and other civil-rights groups and leaders to disadvantage wholly African American–owned networks." ESN has pushed back against that argument, claiming that its channels were repeatedly passed over in favor of white-owned networks despite Comcast saying the channels were “good enough” and on the “short list” to be picked up.

Supreme Court to hear racial discrimination case against Comcast (The Hill) Supreme Court takes Comcast race discrimination case