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50 Cent has been in the news recently for having declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but that doesn’t mean he can’t eke out a few headlines for something else entirely. In this case it’s in reference to a behind-the-curtain contractual headbutting between AT&T and Starz, and the New York City rapper is calling the telecommunications corporation racist for its part in the matter.
What’s 50 Cent’s log in this fire? He’s the executive producer of the network’s well-received drama Power, which has already been renewed for Season 3, and the stalled negotiations with AT&T came just as the show was entering the second half of Season 2. 50 Cent is no doubt willing to do whatever it takes to get things worked out, but his method of putting AT&T on a bigotry blast may not be the wisest route. Here’s one of the social media posts he put out there over the weekend.
One of the “issues in the past” mentioned in the post refers to an incident back in April when AT&T fired exec Aaron Slator after texts were found on his phone with discriminatory language and imagery; a lawsuit was filed shortly thereafter. The company was also sued at the end of last year for $10 million by the National Association of African American Owned Media for their concern that AT&T doesn’t enter deals with 100% African American-own media corporations.
Here’s another post from 50 Cent that uses the word racist again and hones in on his point.
Let’s be fair, here. Starz does air Power, which has the largest black audience on cable, making up more than half of the show’s 6 million-strong viewership; and they also have the basketball-centered Survivor’s Remorse. But the latter was created by Mike O’Malley, and the network also airs Outlander and Black Sails, shows that aren’t the most urban friendly. Other networks involved with the contracts are Encore and Movieplex, neither of which are known for their racially motivated programming. So regardless of what some of the company’s employees do or say that reflects poorly on everyone else, the whole of them probably don’t want to throw away untold numbers of customers purely because they don’t want to see minorities on cable. The company seems to say as much in a statement released to Deadline.
Starz and their paid talent can spin up whatever they like, but the bottom line is we’re NOT going to negotiate a deal that is bad for customers. In these negotiations, our customers are all that matter to us.
It’ll be interesting to see if AT&T and Starz come out of this unscathed, as it usually goes for these kinds of disputes. 50 Cent probably didn’t help things by telling people to change providers, but maybe bygones will be bygones by the time Episode 7 comes around this Saturday night.