Mr. Charlie Ergen
9601 South Meridian Boulevard
Englewood, CO 80112
Dear Mr. Ergen,
On August 9th, we wrote a letter to DISH Network requesting a meeting to discuss DISH’s commitment and involvement in the U.S. Latino community. The letter was a follow up to email, letter, and social media exchanges DISH has had with numerous community and government leaders over the past two months regarding DISH’s decision to drop Univision’s networks and stations instead of treating Spanish-language television on par with its English-language counterparts. Our last letter was motivated by your public comments that Univision’s removal is probably permanent.
It has been three weeks and we have not even received any acknowledgment of our letter. In our letter we specifically asked DISH about its commitment to the U.S. Hispanic community – what are you doing with regards to corporate social responsibility and philanthropic commitments in the Latino community? What is DISH doing to promote diversity and inclusion, especially among its senior leadership team which appears to lack Hispanic and African-American representation?
DISH’s silence is telling. While DISH is a company that has promoted its “service” to the Latino community, that “service” feels like it is just a branding and marketing campaign designed to lure Latino consumers into contracts with exorbitant termination fees of almost $500. DISH may be proud to call itself a “Top Marketer to Hispanic Audiences” but for those of us in the U.S. Latino community, we have a better label for DISH’s actions: “Shameful and Opportunistic.”
We know that DISH’s marketing actions overall are shameful as it has been fined hundreds of millions for its illegal telemarketing practices. We know the company’s actions are especially opportunistic when, as one of your executives recently admitted during the ATT-Time Warner trial, DISH takes down channels in order to up the pressure on programmers to come to a better deal. We are seeing both DISH’s questionable marketing practices and negotiating tricks at play with regards to Univision. Over the past year, DISH has eagerly marketed and promoted its Spanish-language offerings, including Univision’s content and programming, even as it was moving closer to its actions on June 30th to blackout Univision’s networks and stations. We have even heard that some consumers received marketing materials referencing Univision after DISH took it off its systems. Yet, DISH just keeps telling consumers who ask about cancelling because they are not receiving the channels they paid for that termination fees can’t be waived as their contracts are still valid. This is wrong. We are urging the relevant State Attorney Generals to review these practices as they are harmful and deceptive to the communities we represent.
We also intend to hold DISH Network accountable for its lack of diversity and investment in the Latino community. You cannot expect to take Latino dollars and yet not give back. We are calling for a boycott of DISH and will encourage Latino consumers to take their business to other providers who genuinely support and give back to the Latino community.
If you and DISH have a change of heart and will take positive actions for our community, we would welcome a dialogue. Show us that you are supportive of the local Latino communities across the country whose members have been DISH customers – whether they be in McAllen, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Raleigh, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Cleveland, or New York, to name a few. Tell us about what DISH is doing to increase diversity, especially among your senior ranks, and be inclusive as a company. Until then, as long as DISH continues along its current path of undervaluing Spanish-language media while marketing to Latinos without investing in a diverse workplace and in the Latino communities DISH “serves,” we will not be giving you our hard-earned dollars.
Charlie Egan’s Address is at the top of this post, please send him a letter with your feelings of disappointment with Dish Latino Network lack of Latino representation on their board and senior management.
National President and CEO
Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association
cc: The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda