The heat has been turned up on a lawsuit involving telecommunications giant Comcast and media mogul Byron Allen. This week, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer contacted the telecom company — one of the largest cable and broadcast companies in the world — encouraging it to settle the suit with Allen.
Black Enterprise reported that “9 million Comcast shares worth an estimated $423 million” are part of New York City pension fund investments. Stringer has a vested interest in ensuring that the financial magnitude of the case does not weigh heavily on long-term investors. The comptroller has another interest as well. He believes that the racial discrimination lawsuit could leave a bitter taste in the hearts and minds of many, adding to an ever-divisive national climate.
Allen sued Comcast for $20 billion in 2015, citing racial discrimination when Comcast failed to include several of his networks in its programming. Allen affirmed that other white-owned networks appeared in Comcast’s lineup, though they paled in notoriety when compared to his own.
Stringer is not alone in his concern about a potentially explosive verdict. Many believe that a Comcast win would be a civil rights setback.
“The nation’s leading civil rights organizations have expressed deep concern about the standard that may be set in this case,” Stringer stated in an open letter to Comcast.
Many civil rights organizations fear that a win for the telecom giant could raise the stakes for any plaintiff attempting to prove bias in future suits involving civil rights.
Comcast generated more than $94.5 billion in sales in 2018. Allen, who purchased The Weather Channel television network in 2018 for $300 million, is reportedly worth over $400 million.
The Supreme Court decision will be rendered in Spring 2020.