Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios And NAAAOM Meet With FCC And Confirm Charter/Time Warner Cable Merger Is Not A Lock Amid Ongoing Investigations

ES and NAAAOM Believe Charter’s $2 Billion Breakup Fee is At Risk

 

LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ – Entertainment Studios, Inc. (ES) and The National Association of African American-Owned Media (NAAAOM) are now challenging the accuracy of recent media outlets reporting that the Charter Communications/Time Warner Cable merger process has concluded. To the contrary, ES and NAAAOM, in communication with the FCC confirmed that the merger has not been concluded, and the investigations into Charter are very much ongoing. Serious discussions were held with the FCC about opening up to the public all of Charter’s programming contracts, because 100% transparency is in the public’s best interest.

The FCC confirmed that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has not circulated a draft order to fellow FCC commissioners, which is a crucial preliminary step in approving the merger.  The FCC informed NAAAOM that the merger conditions imposed by the FCC may, in fact, be so onerous that Charter may decide not to proceed with the merger. In addition, an FCC insider has informed ES/NAAAOM that the FCC has an obligation to assist 100% African American-owned media, and further stated there is a need for conditions ensuring a percentage of the new Charter’s programming budget goes to 100% African American-owned media.  NAAAOM has deployed protestors to the offices of Charter’s top three investors: Lone Pine Capital, SPO Advisory Corporation, and Berkshire Hathaway demanding that they divest their Charter holdings until Charter does business with 100% African American-owned media. NAAAOM plans to expand the protesters to include other top investors in Charter, as well.

“Charter’s recently published Memo of Understanding is meaningless, and it takes a page out of the phony Comcast/NBCU MOU,” said Byron Allen, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Entertainment Studios.  “Despite recent media coverage, there is very real uncertainty surrounding the approval of the Charter/Time Warner merger.  The terms of the merger are still being investigated, deliberations are very much still pending, and no decisions have been made, and this was confirmed today by the FCC.”

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, filed in United States District Court on January 27, 2016, Central District of California, can be accessed at:
http://www.naaaom.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Charter-FCC-Complaint.pdf.pdf

“If Charter thinks they can cover up a history of discrimination against 100% African American-owned media by playing the American people for fools, they are wrong,” said Mark DeVitre, President of NAAAOM. “The FCC and the Obama administration should be ashamed of themselves for being complicit in supporting the Comcast racial discrimination, and now they have the opportunity to show the world they will not be complicit in the Charter racial discrimination. We do not trust the FCC, since one of their former commissioners, Meredith Attwell Baker, voted in favor of the Comcast/NBCU merger, and very shortly after the approval, took a high-salary job working for Comcast. We believe President Obama’s FCC is full of a bunch of rotten tomatoes, and our protestors will be in front of their offices and homes until the end of time.”

As for Charter’s commitment to “diversity” and to 100% African American-owned media, ES/NAAAOM provide this list of facts about Charter Communications:

  • Charter’s annual programming budget: $4 billion.
  • Percentage of Charter’s programming budget spent towards 100% African American-owned media: $0.00
  • Reverend Al Sharpton endorses the Charter/Time Warner MOU (enough said).
  • Number of high-ranking African-American executives at Charter: 0/10
  • Number of African-American board members at Charter: 0/16
  • Number of female board members at Charter: 0/16
  • Number of Hispanic-American board members at Charter: 0/16
  • Charter does not employ a Chief Diversity Officer (which sends a very clear signal to the world that Charter does not care about diversity).
  • Tom Rutledge’s 2015 compensation: $16.4 million. Note, this individual’s pay is higher than the amount spent on 100% African American-owned media.


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

About NAAAOM
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