Curtis Jackson — better known as the rapper 50 Cent — is throwing allegations at AT&T in the midst of the telecom’s negotiations with Starz and Encore. The 40 year-old Jackson, who stars in and produces the Starz series Power, took to social media to lambast AT&T’s stalled contract negotiations with Starz and Encore, calling the company “racist.”
The rapper took to Instagram to call AT&T out publicly multiple times, including the below post:
As The Verge reports, the “issues in the past” Jackson cites are thought to be in reference to a story from April of this year in which an AT&T president was fired for sending racist text messages.
In another post, Jackson once again called the company racist for its programming choices, and urged followers to “Change your cable package from AT&T to anything else.”
While breeding plenty of controversy, Jackson’s allegations don’t hold much water. Contract negotiations don’t revolve around single shows, however popular, and the motivation for dropping a network is largely based around simple dollars and cents. That said, AT&T customers, and Power fans, will want to watch these negotiations closely.
If AT&T and Starz fail to make a deal by the end of July, six million AT&T U-verse customers won’t have access to Starz or Encore, which have a combined subscription base of 57.5 million users, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Power is Starz’s most-watched series, reaching 6.3 million multiplatform viewers. It also has the “largest concentration of African-American viewers for a premium series since 2006,” according to the network.
In response to 50 Cent’s allegations of racism, an AT&T rep told The Hollywood Reporter “in 2015, for the seventh consecutive year, DiversityInc named AT&T one of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity, ranking us #7.” The company further explained that they’re looking out for their customers first. “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 a statement, Starz explained that they’re in the midst of negotiating a new agreement with AT&T. “Without a new agreement, the millions of AT&T customers who have chosen to subscribe and pay for Starz and Encore will be at risk of losing these channels and the popular original programming like Power and Outlander, as well as thousands of movies … We are hopeful that AT&T will negotiate in good faith and that we will reach a fair agreement that allows its customers to continue to get great entertainment at a good value.”