Entertainment Studios and NAAAOM to Hold New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities Fully Accountable for Racial Discrimination

N.J. Board of Public Utilities Rubber-Stamped Approval of Charter Communications/Time Warner Cable Merger without a Public Hearing

Mar 03, 2016, 23:09 ET from Entertainment Studios

LOS ANGELES, March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. and The National Association of African American-Owned Media (NAAAOM) today gave notice to Public Utilities Commissions in three states – New Jersey, California, and Hawaii – alerting them to serious allegations about these states facilitating racial discrimination in contracting as it relates to Charter Communications' pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable.  Entertainment Studios and NAAAOM assert that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities' February 24th approval of the Charter/Time Warner Cable merger perpetuates the proliferation of institutionalized racism within one of the nation's largest media companies. 

"For Charter to secure regulatory approval of its $55 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable – which would create the nation's second largest cable television and broadband service distributor – Charter must secure the approvals of the Public Utilities Commissions of the States of California, New Jersey and Hawaii," said Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Entertainment Studios Networks. "Unfortunately, New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities President Richard S. Mroz and his colleagues approved this transaction without even holding a public hearing!!! We are now pursuing all of our options in order to hold New Jersey fully accountable for this unacceptable failure in state governance by encouraging and supporting the proliferation of institutionalized racism within one of the nation's largest media companies. It should also be noted that Charter Communications, under the leadership of Tom Rutledge, has an all-white, all-male board of directors, with no women or people of color, and no Chief Diversity Officer on staff." 

"It is time for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, and New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman to show America where they stand on institutionalized racism and reverse the horrible decision of their Board of Public Utilities," said Mark DeVitre, President of NAAAOM. "It is simply unacceptable for them to support the rubber-stamp approval of this merger with no protection against discrimination by large media companies such as Charter Communications. These elected officials need to get on the right side of history or be held accountable.  We have contacted California Governor Jerry Brown, California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Hawaii Governor David Ige, Hawaii Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz, and Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie.  We have provided them additional information to help them make the right decision, which is to stand against Charter and to stand against racism."

On January 27, 2016, Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc. and NAAAOM filed an historic $10 billion lawsuit against Charter Communications for engaging in racial discrimination in contracting against 100% African American-owned media in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. §1981; and against President Obama's Federal Communications Commission for approving mega-media mergers, such as Comcast/NBCUniversal, that discriminate against African American-owned media.

The lawsuit charges the FCC and Charter Communications with having engaged in long-term racial discrimination in contracting with 100% African American-owned media companies. The suit further states that of the over $4 billion spent annually by Charter Communications on cable channel carriage fees and advertising, zero dollars are spent with 100% African American-owned media companies.  Because of this racial discrimination, President Obama's FCC should never approve Charter Communications' acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court on January 27, 2016, Central District of California, can be accessed at:

About Entertainment Studios
Entertainment Studios, Inc. owns seven 24-hour HD cable networks: PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, and JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV. The company also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 40 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations. With a library of over 5,000 hours of owned content across multiple genres, Entertainment Studios provides video content to broadcast television stations, cable television networks, mobile devices, multimedia platforms, and the World Wide Web.  Our mission is to provide excellent programming to our viewers, online users, and Fortune 500 advertising partners. Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded the company in 1993. Headquartered in Los Angeles, it has offices in New York, Chicago, Denver, and Raleigh.  For more information, visit: www.es.tv

NAAAOM's mission is to eliminate racial discrimination and secure the economic inclusion of truly 100% African American-owned media through fair contracting and equal treatment practices.  www.naaaom.com


SOURCE Entertainment Studios