Rapper 50 Cent called telecom giant AT&T “racist” in a series of Instagram posts over the weekend for threatening to pull premium cable channel Starz, and by extension, his television show Power, off of the network’s U-Verse service.
AT&T and Starz are locked in contract re-negotiations, and neither side appears ready to give an inch.
One casualty of the stalemate is Power, a show that 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, appears in and executive produces. According to Deadline, Power averages six million viewers per episode, and half of those are African-American, making it the most watched show among that demographic across all premium cable scripted shows and the most-watched show in Starz history.
But if AT&T and Starz cannot work out an agreement, both Starz and its sister channel Encore could be pulled off of U-Verse, and along with it, 50’s Power.
The rapper took to Instagram on Saturday to slam AT&T as “racist:”
If your a fan of POWER and you have AT&T as a cable carrier, you will no longer see it. Switch to… https://t.co/JyFNzrodgv
— 50cent (@50cent) July 18, 2015
50 urged AT&T subscribers to switch to “any other” cable package if they wanted to view the show.
AT&T is reportedly not caving in to the rapper’s public pleas:
“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 these negotiations, our customers are all that matter to us,” a spokesman for the company told Deadline.
A spokesman for Starz fired back.
“Starz has enjoyed a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with AT&T until now. We are hopeful 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,” a rep for the company told Deadline.
The two sides have until the end of July to strike a deal.
50 Cent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month.