Comcast accused by NAACP of attacking civil rights protections

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has slammed cable TV giant Comcast for asking the Supreme Court to weaken protections laid out in the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

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The 110-year-old organization published a statement on Thursday urging the the owner of cable systems as well as NBC to “cease its attack on Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.”

Comcast is in the midst of a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit with Bryon Allen’s Entertainment Studios. The suit will go before the Supreme Court on Nov. 13.

Allen, the comic turned talk show host turned TV mogul, sued the media concern in 2015 after it refused to carry his digital television channels such as Cars.TV and Pets.TV.

Allen claimed they refused because he’s black and his lawsuit pointed to the Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which says that all people should have "the same right ... to make and enforce contracts ... as is enjoyed by white citizens."

However, on Aug. 15, the Department of Justice filed a brief in support of Comcast, asking the Supreme Court to weaken the protections in the statute, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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In response, the NAACP published its statement Thursday, titled “NAACP statement on the Comcast Corporation’s partnership with the Trump administration to eviscerate civil rights protections.”

“For more than a century, Section 1981 has been used as an important tool to combat race discrimination, particularly for employment discrimination claimants,” the statement said.

“Yet now, in a situation that has become all too familiar during this era, an upcoming Supreme Court decision has the potential to reject these lessons of history by rolling back the clock on basic civil rights,” it added.

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Ultimately, the organization said it “takes no position on the underlying dispute.” However, it added that it wouldn’t stand down on the issue of the Civil Rights Act.

“We urge Comcast to cease its attack on Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866; a bedrock civil rights statute that has been in place for more than 150 years,” the NAACP said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.