Comcast, media mogul Byron Allen reach carriage deal

FILE PHOTO: Comedian Byron Allen arrives at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 27, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

(Reuters) – Comcast Corp said on Thursday it reached a content carriage deal with comedian-turned media mogul Byron Allen, who withdrew a lawsuit about racial bias against channels owned by African Americans.

The settlement with Allen’s Entertainment Studios Networks comes at a time when the recent death of African American George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis has triggered protests in the United States against racism and police brutality.

As part of the deal, Comcast will extend the agreement for the Weather Channel and 14 other broadcast stations and also distribute Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV and JusticeCentral.TV.

Allen sued Comcast in 2015 for $20 billion in a Los Angeles court, making claims under the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a post-Civil War law that forbids racial discrimination in business contracts. It requires all people to have the same right to make and enforce contracts “as is enjoyed by white citizens.”

Comcast said on Thursday the pending litigation between the two companies had been withdrawn, but did not disclose the financial terms of the carriage deal.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty