In a surprising move, Byron Allen has settled his racial discrimination lawsuit against Comcast.
The financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, but Deadline and Variety report that Comcast has reached a deal to extend its terms for The Weather Channel, which Allen acquired in 2018, in addition to 14 local television stations that the Allen Media Group acquired in October.
Additionally, Comcast will launch the free Weather Channel app, Local Now, on its Xfinity and Flex platforms, as well as the website WeLoveWeather.TV.
Also of note, Comcast will use its X1 platform to distribute Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV, three cable channels produced by Allen’s Entertainment Studios. This deal will also include video-on-demand and TV everywhere rights.
“We’re excited to begin a new phase of partnership with Comcast and Xfinity, including the distribution of our cable channels for the first time on Xfinity platforms,” Allen said in a statement.
In 2015, Allen filed a $20 billion lawsuit against the media juggernaut, accusing it of violating an 1866 federal civil rights law that ensures that “black people had the same right to make and enforce contracts as white people.” By refusing to carry his portfolio of cable channels, Allen alleged that his race factored into Comcast’s decision, thus violating the law. Comcast vehemently denied those claims and the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court in November.
As to how this all played out in the Supreme Court, Variety has the scoop:
Last November, attorneys for Allen and Comcast squared off in the nation’s high court to argue over a narrow issue in the case involving the whether race was the sole factor in Comcast’s rejection of Allen or whether it was a “motivating factor.” Allen’s team argued for the “motivating factor” standard. The significance applied to the burden of proof in the case, which would have been lighter on Allen’s team had the justices agreed that the probing the “motivating factor” standard was right test for the case.
In March, the court ruled 9-0 in favor of Comcast’s argument on the interpretation question and sent the lawsuit back to a lower court to be refiled. It’s understood that settlement discussions between Comcast and Allen had picked up steam even before the Supreme Court decision was issued.
Whew. That’s a lot.
“We are pleased to have reached this multifaceted agreement that continues our long relationship with The Weather Channel while bringing Xfinity customers additional content,” Bec Heap, Senior Vice President of Video and Entertainment for Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “We look forward to an ongoing partnership.”
I’m sure that check had to be glorious, but Allen’s battles in the courtroom aren’t exactly over. He also has a $10 billion dollar racial discrimination lawsuit pending against another media giant, Charter Communications.