If you didn’t know about Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios’ $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit against Comcast before, you definitely heard about it today after Diddy spoke his truth on the issue with an official statement.

First, let’s layout the backstory: In 2015, Allen’s company, along with the National Association of African Owned Media, filed the lawsuit claiming Comcast didn’t allow Allen to have his channels carried by Comcast. The initial claim was dismissed by the lower court three separate times, but last year the 9th Circuit court of appeals agreed to allow the case to be presented. In response to the 9th Circuit’s decision, Comcast decided to petition the Supreme Court of the United States. Wednesday, November 13th, the Supreme Court convened to consider what the legal threshold is for a plaintiff to bring a racial discrimination complaint under section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a law put in place after the abolition of slavery to ensure “non-whites” were able to conduct business without facing discrimination.

Specifically, Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits racial discrimination in contracts and holds that African Americans and other citizens must have the same rights to contract for the purposes of conducting business as their white counterparts.

To break it down, the court has to decide what the “rule” will be to determine if the case can be taken to court under this section. The question is whether it is Allen’s responsibility to provide evidence that Allen’s race was a “motivating factor” vs. being the “sole reason” in Comcast’s decision to deny carriage of his company’s channels. Legally, this is being referred to as a “But For” test, and the distinction is essential to all of us. Pay attention; your civil rights are in jeopardy.

In documents filed in court, Allen’s legal team argued that Comcast refused to carry Allen’s channels and instead chose to carry “lesser-known, white-owned” networks, such as FitTV and the Outdoor Channel, during a time when they claimed that they lacked the bandwidth to carry any additional channels. Comcast refutes Allen’s claims, insisting that their decision not to carry Allen’s channels was based on business factors, not race. Comcast goes further and argues that section 1981 should be interpreted in a way that says Allen has to prove that “but for” his race, they would have carried his channels. In various commentary around the case, it has been noted that Comcast did, in fact, provide carriage opportunities to African-American owned channels, including REVOLT TV owned by Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Wait, did Comcast just say this couldn’t possibly be a case of discrimination because they carry REVOLT? REVOLT is indeed black-owned, but it is carried on only on some, but not nearly all, of Comcast’s systems. And nowhere is it in the most affordable packages.

As background, in 2013, the REVOLT TV cable channel was given distribution by Comcast as a part of a US government mandate when Comcast bought NBC Universal. This made it possible for the channel even to exist. But REVOLT was never put in the most affordable packages on Comcast and has never been given any more distribution than what they got at the time Comcast launched the network as a part of that government mandate. REVOLT isn’t even carried by Comcast in many key African American markets like Philadelphia, Indianapolis, parts of Florida, and the entire states of New Jersey, Alabama, & South Carolina, to name a few places…

Okay, so REVOLT is not a good example of inclusion, but what is really at stake? If Comcast wins their argument at the Supreme Court that the “but for” interpretation be applied, thus dismissing Allen’s case, then all minorities will have the near-impossible burden of proving that race was the sole factor resulting in discriminatory treatment in order to take a case to court. This move will dilute the protections and purpose of the Civil Rights Act, section 1981, to protect people of color’s opportunities to do business on an equal playing field. Basically, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to even get to court to fight against discrimination. In light of the importance of these issues and the comments made by Comcast, Sean “Diddy” Combs felt it was his duty to “speak his truth.”

In his statement, Diddy says that Comcast should not have taken an approach that attempts to dismantle Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. He says: “Comcast has made this about much more than Byron Allen, and now the civil rights of my children and my community are at stake. To be clear, anything that makes it harder to fight against discrimination is wrong. Comcast is choosing to be on the wrong side of history.”

On the question of REVOLT, Diddy went on to say that “… inclusion requires a real partnership. The only way Black-owned networks grow and thrive is with meaningful and consistent economic support. Otherwise, they are set up to fail. REVOLT has never been in a position to truly compete on a fair playing field because it has not received the economic and distribution support necessary for real economic inclusion. Our relationship with Comcast is the “illusion of economic inclusion.”

It will be months before the Supreme Court makes a decision. They are expected to render their decision sometime in the Spring of 2020.

Let’s hope that whoever wins, it won’t be at the expense of the civil rights of millions of Americans.

Find Mr. Combs’ full statement on REVOLT.tv.

Allen was recently a guest on “The Breakfast Club.” which airs on REVOLT and gives his perspectives on the case. Watch that interview here.

See where you can watch the REVOLT TV channel here.