Editorial: National Association Of African-American Owned Media Sues DirecTV & AT&T For $10 Billion
The National Association Of African American Owned Media (NAAAOM) has filed a $10 billion dollar lawsuit against DirecTV, AT&T, AT&T Services, and AT&T Mobility for race discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
Citing U.S.C. Section 1981, this section prohibits racial discrimination in contracting and applies to both non-governmental and governmental discrimination, further providing that all persons in the United States shall have the same right to make and enforce contracts as is enjoyed by white persons.
"It is appalling, deeply upsetting and totally unacceptable now and moving forward that economic exclusion of 100% African American-owned media continues to be perpetuated by these behemoth media conglomerates and their persistent, rigid refusal to contract with 100% African American owned media," said Mark DeVitre, President of NAAAOM. "If AT&T and DirecTV do not respond to this lawsuit quickly and properly resolve the issues, we will call for the resignation of Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO of AT&T, Mark Wright, Vice President Media Services and Sponsorships at AT&T, Aaron Slater, President, Content and Advertising Sales for AT&T,Michael D. White, Chairman, CEO and President of DirecTV and Daniel York, Chief Content Officer, DirecTV. In addition, we will organize nationwide boycotts to disconnect all AT&T and DirecTV services," he continued.
Per the press release from the NAAAOM, it is estimated that collectively, AT&T and DirecTV spend approximately $22 billion dollars in both cable channel carriage license fees and advertising, while less than $3 million of those dollars are allocated to 100% African American owned media. Further stated, in 2013, the combined personal compensation of the CEO's of these companies, AT&T's Randall Stephenson earning $23 million dollars and DirecTV's Michael D. White earning $13 million dollars is at least 10 times more than both companies paid to 100% African American-owned media during the same year.
100% African American-owned television networks are reliant upon multichannel video programming distributors like AT&T and DirecTV not only to realize subscriber and advertising revenue, but also to reach television consumers providing them with a wide range of diversity of viewpoints in programming.
"This lawsuit presents a unique and important opportunity for our justice system to address and eradicate racial discrimination against 100% African American-owned media companies. I look forward to presenting our case in Court, explaining it to the jury and obtaining an appropriate remedy for the wrongful way AT&T and DirecTV have operated their businesses. 100% African American-owned media companies have been egregiously harmed and we look forward to obtaining justice for them," said Skip Miller, partner at Miller Barondess, LLP in Los Angeles and lead trial counsel for the plaintiff.
The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court, Central District of California, can be accessed at www.NAAAOM.com!!!
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.