NEW YORK, Sept. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The Word Network, a mainstream media broadcaster for African-American ministries and gospel music to millions in the United States and across the world, sued Sirius Satellite Radio today, alleging racial discrimination and breach of contract over its decision to cancel their contract. Sirius dropped The Word Network from its programming in mid-September despite backing from members of Congress, African-American religious leaders, and tens of thousands of listeners and other interested Americans. "We did not want to file suit, but Sirius gave us no choice," said Lewis Gibbs, The Word Network's vice president of operations. "We were dropped without warning and when pressed as to why, Sirius said ratings were poor. However, Sirius refused to say what the ratings were or if others with supposedly similar ratings were also unceremoniously dropped. We feel that was a pretext for racial and religious discrimination, and neither we nor our supporters will stand for it." Among those who have spoken against Sirius' decision to drop The Word Network are: * Members of Congress who sent letters of disapproval to Sirius, including Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD.), the immediate past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus; Reps. Corrine Brown (D-FL.), Albert R. Wynn (D-MD.), and Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA.), and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D- Mich.); * Leaders of the African-American religious and gospel communities, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Bobby Jones and Bishop Paul Morton; * 15,000 Americans who wrote letters of protest that were hand-delivered to Jay Clark, Sirius' vice president of programming; * Nearly 3,000 Americans who sent e-mails to Sirius; and * Countless other Americans who made telephone calls to Sirius. The suit alleges that The Word Network was the only programming on Sirius that combined religious programming and ministry to an African-American audience, and Sirius does not now carry, and has no plans to carry, programming similar to it on its satellite. Sirius was therefore, the suit alleges, "motivated by racial and religious discrimination when it refused to renew its contract." The Word Network provides religious and gospel programming to 37 million American households in the United States. The Word Network is also available in 140 countries via satellite TV, and is carried on The Armed Forces Network, which makes The Word Network's programming available to approximately one million men and women in the armed forces stationed in 165 countries throughout the world. The thousands of people who protested the decision made it clear to Sirius that they had a duty to find room on their dial for wholesome broadcasting that serves the public interest. If you'd like to receive a copy of the lawsuit or to speak to Lewis Gibbs, please contact Lindsay Keller at 202.261.2871 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To voice your support to The Word Network, go to http://www.keeptheword.com/ or call Sirius' customer care center at 1-888-539-SIRIUS (7474). For more information on The Word Network, visit http://www.thewordnetwork.org/.
SOURCE The Word Network