Entrepreneur and hip hop icon Ice Cube is involved in a business battle with a couple of wealthy businessmen, who Cube claims are using their influence to put up roadblocks to block his bid to buy 21 TV channels Disney. Cube has strategically put a group of investors together that includes Magic Johnson, Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, Serena Williams, billionaire Carolyn Rafaelian, investment bank Macquarie Group and private equity company Centerbridge Partners. Disney is looking to sell the 21 channels for $10 billion.
On April 12, 2019, The Big 3 released a statement that it has filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) against Charter to have the FCC investigate if the company violated the carriage discrimination rules. The rule is in place to allow minority owners to compete in the auction. Ice Cube shares in his statement that The Big 3 is not a part of the good old boys club and that is why they are not given a fair shot.
“The BIG3 is not part of the old boys club and that doesn’t sit well with a company like Charter, which has been called out many times for unfair treatment of minority organizations and for consistent disregard of its own customers.
In response to our filing, Charter says they are willing to talk to ‘whomever.’ Given their consistent animosity toward diverse ownership groups with inclusive messages like ours, we say we don’t believe them. Anyone who looks at the facts won’t either. They have done everything they can to keep us from owning these RSN’s and that’s why we have asked the FCC and the DOJ to investigate.
BIG3 has a very strong and profitable plan to re-imagine the Fox RSNs. We want to build a national platform with programming that brings people of all races, genders, and backgrounds together, in front of the screens and behind the scenes. We’re planning a new network that isn’t afraid of mixing culture, music, politics, and sports and we have the best and most inclusive roster of artists and creators as our partners.
Companies like Charter want to keep the old world and will bend the rules to do business with the same people in the same tired way. Just like they always have. But it’s been way past time for a change. We have a vision for a more inclusive, more positive role for media in this country. The BIG3 buying the Fox RSNs is a big step into that future,” said Ice Cube.
Big Three Co-Founder Jeffrey Kwatinetz, also spoke on the matter, “We made ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and ‘Ride Along’ with Comcast/Universal and we’ve done business with Warner’s since ‘Friday’, so we know they make decisions based on good business regardless of the message or messenger. We can’t say the same about Charter.”
“It’s telling that in Charter’s statement they won’t commit to some of the most valuable networks on tv and only ‘agree to talk.’ But we’ve seen how they ‘talk’ to networks based on platforms of diversity and inclusion,” said Kwatinetz.
Ice Cube and the rest of the Big 3 has big plans to create a national network that will feature more diverse sports, youth and culture programming that targets millennial and GenZ audiences. We will keep you informed as this story continues to develop.