DALLAS, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A group recognizing African-American owned media companies filed a $10 billion lawsuit against AT&T Inc. and DirecTV.
The National Association of African-American Owned Media filed the lawsuit Tuesday in a California federal court. It says black-owned media has been shut out from doing business with the two companies for racial reasons.
Dallas-based AT&T bought DirecTV earlier this year for $48.5 billion.
The lawsuit alleges the two merged companies refuse to carry the majority of programming of "at least one" African-American owned media company that owns seven channels that feature original content. The suit says only one of the channels is carried, for which no carriage fees are paid.
"DirecTV -- with four times more pay-TV subscribers than AT&T -- spends approximately $12 billion annually for channel carriage, but like AT&T, none of that $12 billion is paid for channel carriage from 100 percent African American-owned media," the complaint says. "And again, of the additional approximately $2 billion DirecTV spends on advertising annually, 100 percent African American-owned media receives less than $1.5 million per year.
"For AT&T and DirecTV, it is a one-way street. While these companies take billions from the African American community, they pay 100 percent African American-owned media very little or nothing."
Association president Mark DeVitre said the alleged practice is "appalling, deeply upsetting and totally unacceptable."
AT&T said the allegations are "outlandish" and "completely baseless."