Sean Diddy Combs has basically told Comcast to keep his Network and his name out of their mouth and court filings. Diddy is the latest celeb to join forces with Byron Allen and his groundbreaking lawsuit against the cable operator.
“My name and my network, REVOLT, have been mentioned recently by Comcast in reference to the Comcast/Byron Allen US Supreme Court case as an example of Comcast’s inclusive practices with respect to African American owned cable networks. While it is true that we are in business with Comcast, it is not accurate to use my name or my network as an example of inclusion. I do not want my name to be used inaccurately so I must speak my truth.”
That truth, according to Diddy, is plain and simple. “Our relationship with Comcast is the illusion of economic inclusion.” But he didn’t stop there, Combs laid out in detail how the Cable Operator has systematically stopped REVOLT from growing. “Comcast spends billions of dollars on content networks every year, but just a few million go to African American owned networks like REVOLT. That is unacceptable.” Diddy went on to mention that his Network has been ignored by Comcast since it was created.
Starting REVOLT and working with African American vendors was a condition of the Comcast merger with NBCUniversal. Once that was completed, Diddy claims he was basically abandoned. “Since that launch our relationship has not grown, and REVOLT is still not carried by Comcast in the most affordable packages nor is REVOLT available in all of the markets that would enable us to serve our target audience.”
Here’s where things take a turn, REVOLT’s issues, while important, are secondary to the real battle that is going on with Byron’s lawsuit. Comcast is asking the Supreme Court to dismiss Allen’s filing and overturn the oldest civil rights law on the books. Working with the Trump administration, Comcast is hoping to rewrite the basic rights for people of color, and that has Diddy and many others concerned. “… this case is now about much more than cable distribution. It’s about the civil rights of millions of African Americans and other minorities.” He goes on to add, “The Civil Rights Act of 1866 section 1981 was designed to ensure Black people are able to do business in this country and not be denied because of race. Comcast is arguing that this law only applies if racial discrimination is the only factor that leads to a refusal to do business, which would be extremely hard to prove. If they are successful, it will become much harder for any victim of discrimination to seek justice in court.”
The Civil Rights Act of 1866, was put in place after the Civil War to ensure that African American owned businesses would receive fair consideration and treatment during Reconstruction in the South. The impact of this decision could be devastating and it calls into question the true motives of Comcast on a much larger scale. “How can Comcast suggest that it champions diversity and inclusion if it attacks the laws that provide the foundation for economic inclusion? What good are any of their efforts if they are fighting to make it harder for victims of discrimination to be heard in court? Comcast has made this about much more than Byron Allen, and now the civil rights of my children and my community are at stake. To be clear, anything that makes it harder to fight against discrimination is wrong. Comcast is choosing to be on the wrong side of history” Amen Diddy, Amen.
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