A new lawsuit has been filed against the Rev. Al Sharpton alleging the civil rights leader’s bought off by Comcast to keep quiet about the lack of black cable TV programming to the tune of $3.8 million.
The National Association of African American Owned Media claims in their $20 billion lawsuit filed in California that Comcast paid Sharpton and his National Action Network “cash donations ” in exchange for not sounding off about its lack of solely black-owned channels. The NAAAOM also claims the NAACP and Urban League were also bought off.
Comcast also allegedly gave Sharpton assurances that he will maintain his hefty $750,000-a-year gig as a host on MSNBC, which it co-owns, even as his ratings slump, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“The black community has been sold out by him,” comedian Byron Allen, a co-plaintiff and owner of Entertainment Studios, said. “Al Sharpton should be ashamed of himself for defending Comcast for a simple chicken-dinner payoff.”
Sharpton and Comcast blast the lawsuit as “frivolous” and unsubstantiated.
The lawsuit, which opposes the merger between Comcast and Time Warner, said that Comcast carries just one completely black-owned channel, The Africa Channel, and that Time Warner barely fares better.
But instead of Sharpton’s NAN and other activist groups such as the NAACP and National Urban League protesting the inequity, they and Comcast signed “voluntary diversity agreements” that “whitewash” the company’s racist practices, the suit claims.
After the pacts were signed, Comcast shelled out $140,000 to NAN, $835,000 to the National Urban League and $30,000 to the NAACP, according to the suit.
The group’s allegations of payouts also factor in Sharpton’s TV salary, which he has been receiving since starting to host MSNBC’s “PoliticsNation” in 2011, the suit says.
Sharpton blasted the suit as “frivolous at best.” The activist concedes his group has gotten some donations from Comcast, but said, “It’s nowhere near $1 million.”
He added he “would welcome” the suit. “We could then be deposed on what [a plaintiff] asked us to do to help him get programming, which we frankly considered below our standard and unethical,” he said.
Comcast ripped the suit as being full of “inflammatory, inaccurate and unsupported allegations.”