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Circle City Broadcasting files defamation suit against AT&T

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Circle City Broadcasting, parent company to WISH-TV and MyINDY-TV 23, has filed a defamation suit against AT&T.

The suit, filed in Marion County, comes after CCB filed a federal lawsuit against AT&T for racial discrimination.

The federal lawsuit claims that AT&T is refusing to pay re-transmission fees for WISH-TV and MyINDY-TV 23. The suit claims that fees were paid to the previous owner of the stations, Nexstar Media Group, and that now AT&T has offered nothing to carry the channels.

In a statement regarding the lawsuit, AT&T public relations manager Teresa Mask stated that AT&T “recently completed more extensive agreements with other minority-owned broadcasters including one who recently paid Circle City’s owner $165 million to acquire his former stations.”

The new lawsuit claims that the statement “failed to mention that the ‘minority-owned broadcaster’ specifically referenced in Mask’s statement had sued AT&T for $10 billion in a 2014 race discrimination lawsuit concerning AT&T’s refusal to contract with African-American owned programmers.”

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The lawsuit claims that AT&T is trying to portray McCoy as “greedy,” “stealing from the Indianapolis community by demanding such unreasonable compensation from AT&T,” and “a money-grubbing station owner, attempting to extract increased fees from AT&T as a new owner, when that is not true.”

McCoy is requesting “market rate” for carriage of the channels and says “AT&T based its consumer prices on that rate and those prices remain unchanged even though AT&T is no longer paying for the right to distribute content from WISH-TV and WNDY,” according to the suit.

CCB and McCoy are requesting a jury trial.

News 8 has reached out to AT&T for a response to the latest lawsuit.

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