Did AT&T Act in Bad Faith When it Cancelled Al Jazeera?
Lawyers for Al Jazeera’s new U.S. news channel allege that AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) “acted in bad faith” when it decided to cancel plans to include the channel in their packaging, Bloomberg reports. The Qatar-based broadcast says that AT&T — the largest U.S. phone company — conceived of a “pretextual scheme” in order to drop Al Jezeera America from its U-verse pay-TV service — and only right before the channel was set to start broadcasting earlier in the week.
While the details of the agreement are redacted due to confidential information, Al Jazeera lawyers said that the move gave the Dallas-based phone company the chance to “pocket millions of dollars to which it was not entitled.”
The AT&T U-verse pay-TV service revealed it wouldn’t carry Al Jazeera America on August 19, citing a contract dispute. AT&T spokesman Brad Burns told Bloomberg in an emailed statement, “Al Jazeera has mischaracterized the facts.” He continued, “Due to certain breaches by Al Jazeera, AT&T terminated the agreement and will no longer carry Current TV on U-Verse.”