The National Association of African American Owned Media (NAAAOM) has filed a $10 billion lawsuit against AT&T and DirecTV 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 DirectTV and Daniel York, Chief Content Officer, DirecTV. In addition, we will organize nationwide boycotts to disconnect all AT&T and DirecTV services,” he continued.
It is estimated that collectively, AT&T and DirecTV spend approximately $22 billion in both cable channel carriage license fees and advertising, while less than $3 million is allocated to 100% African American owned media. In 2013, the combined personal compensation of the CEOs of AT&T and DirecTV earned $36 million, which is at least 10 time more than both companies paid to 100% African American owned media during the same year.
The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court, Central District of California, can be accessed at www.naaaom.com.