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Class Action Lawsuit Filed in Disney/Spectrum Dispute

Spectrum sued Disney content

The Disney/Charter/Spectrum just got a whole lot worse.

On August 31, 2023, millions of Spectrum TV fans were enraged when dozens of their channels went black. Among some of the most upset were those who love college football and found themselves unable to access ESPN. The Walt Disney Company decided to pull all the channels it owned from Spectrum TV when it failed to come to an agreement with Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications.

Monday Night Football

Credit: ESPN

Charter immediately took to social media to place the blame solely on Disney’s shoulders. Charter claimed that it was trying to work with Disney on a new contract, but Disney wanted too much money. Company officials said that it would continue to fight for its Spectrum TV customers and work to keep prices down. Disney quickly shot back, claiming that Charter kept saying how valuable Disney’s content was, but then wanted services — like Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN — for free.

The Handmaid's Tale Hulu

Credit: Hulu

Despite Charter and Spectrum’s insistence that they did nothing wrong, some of their customers disagree. On September 5, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Charter for its issues with Disney. The lawsuit claims that Charter is at fault because it declined an offer to extend its current contract with Disney, causing blackouts that affected millions.

Per The Hollywood Reporter:

A lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Florida federal court faults Charter for allegedly declining an offer from Disney to extend negotiations, which would have kept Disney-owned channels like the ESPN networks up for consumers in the middle of major programming events, including the U.S. Open tennis tournament and college football. It seeks an order that would require Charter to cease blacking out Disney channels or provide reimbursement for those that are not being provided. Charter has offered customers a $15 rebate but only if they call into customer service.

The proposed class action alleges breach of contract and violations of Florida consumer protection laws. It looks to represent all Charter customers whose access to Disney-owned networks was cut off by the blackout, as well as a smaller class of Florida consumers who were charged the entirety of their bill “despite not being allotted access to all the advertised services.” 

Disney ESPN partnership

Credit: ESPN

Disney and Charter have not been able to come to an agreement, which means that customers are still without channels like ESPN, the Disney Channel, and Disney-owned ABC News networks. The suit claims that Charter is still charging customers full price for its Spectrum services, despite having so many channels blacked out. The lawsuit also seeks damages for customers having to seek alternative viewing methods.

World News Tonight ABC

Credit: ABC

Charter and Spectrum officials have admitted that they are willing to “blow up” the traditional cable bundle packages if an agreement with Disney cannot be made. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit have claimed that Charter is holding its customers hostage — customers must sign a contract — while it tries to change the television game.

You can read the lawsuit in its entirety here.

Charter has not commented on the suit.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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