The Dolan family, led by Charles Dolan, the founder and former CEO of Cablevision, stamped its name to a lawsuit last week against telecom giant Altice, which purchased Cablevision in 2016.
Besides Charles, the plaintiffs include Helen Dolan, James Dolan and Patrick Dolan, all of whom charge that Altice—a French company—violated its merger agreement and committed fraud by depriving local News 12 Networks of resources, thereby choking the networks’ ability to operate. The suit also alleges ageism by Altice and says the company has already laid off dozens of workers.
With the Dolan reach across Long Island resembling that of an insatiable and media-savvy octopus, it is admittedly hard to feel any sort of sympathy for the family when they are viewed from the standpoint of a consumer and resident of the island. However, from my own personal perch as a member of the community newspaper arm of the media, I do stand in solidarity with my local news counterparts.
The idea of an impossibly large company like Altice coming to Long Island from overseas and decimating a news and media organization that has provided residents with locally tinged products for decades is one that shouldn’t be easily digested by anyone in either country. But, then again, the Dolans did know who they were selling to and by all accounts, Altice has always been the type of company to run its assets on budgets that are as bare bones as possible. That angle seems to illustrate the fact that the Dolans were likely more concerned with cash than details.
But the element that sticks out the most is the charge of ageism. The suit alleges that Altice wants to shove News 12 anchor Colleen McVey off the air in favor of a “fresh look.” Here, the message to Altice should be clear:
Just because something is “new” doesn’t make it “news.”
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