The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Comcast over Byron Allen in his racial discrimination case against the media giant. In a unanimous decision this Monday, the court ruled that a lower court used the wrong legal standard in allowing Allen’s $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit to proceed.
The ruling concluded that in order for Bryon to prevail he “must initially plead and ultimately prove that, but for race, it would not have suffered the loss of a legally protected right.”
According to the suit, Allen says the cable giant racially discriminated against him when it refused to carry his cable-TV channels on their network. Comcast claims race had nothing to do with the rejection saying, the reason they decided not to carry the channels was due to low ratings.
The Supreme Court’s ruling means that Allen’s case will go back to lower court, where he will need to try and prove his case again, however he will have a much greater threshold to meet in order for his case to survive. In order to win the suit, Allen must prove that his race was a “motivating factor” for Comcast’s decision not to carry his channels.
“This is a very bad day for our country,” Allen told Yahoo Finance in a statement. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has rendered a ruling that is harmful to the civil rights of millions of Americans.”
Allen vowed to continue to pursue a solution to the case.
“We will continue our fight by going to Congress and the presidential candidates to revise the statute to overcome this decision by the United States Supreme Court, which significantly diminishes our civil rights,” he says in the statement.
In its own statement, Comcast said it was pleased that the high court had “restored certainty” as to the standard required to bring civil rights claims.
“The well-established framework that has protected civil rights for decades continues. The nation’s civil rights laws have not changed with this ruling; they remain the same as before the case was filed,” Comcast stated. “We now hope that on remand the 9th Circuit will agree that the District Court properly applied that standard in dismissing Mr. Allen’s case three separate times for failing to state any claim.”
The company added: “We are proud of our record on diversity and will not rest on this record. We will continue to look for ways to add even more innovative and diverse programming that appeals to our diverse viewership and continue our diversity and inclusion efforts across the company.”