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Satellite TV provider DISH is implementing similar tacts “that the old south employed when enacting laws that counted African-Americans as three-fifths of a man,” Rev. Jesse Jackson says.

The civil rights leader has fired off a letter in which he comments on the battle between DISH and WGN, the network behind the acclaimed slavery drama “Underground.” In his letter, Jackson blasted the satellite provider for pulling Tribune Media’s WGN from its lineup for the past two weeks in a fight over retransmission fees. Jesse compared the move to the slave-holding era, and believes DISH is discounting the impact “Underground” has had on black communities.

Jackson wrote that “Underground” had broken ratings records for WGN, which is based in Jackson’s hometown of Chicago — and asked: “Is DISH using the same kind of math with ratings that the old south employed when enacting laws that counted African-Americans as three-fifths of a man?” notes that he also wrote: “Underground,” which tells the story of the pre-Civil War Underground Railroad that helped slaves make their way north to freedom, “is a crucial part of a brand-new day of diversity on television that sheds a bright light on the bravery, ingenuity and power of the African-American experience, and is being used as teachable moments in homes and history classes around the nation at a time when we need it most.”

03/02/2016 - Aldis Hodge, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, John Legend - "Underground" TV Series World Premiere - Arrivals - The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S Broadway - Los Angeles, CA, USA - Keywords: Vertical, Person, People, Celebrity, Celebrities, Red Carpet Event, Drama, History, Television Series, TV Show, Arts Culture and Entertainment, WGN America's "Underground" Arrivals, Bestof, Topix, Sony Pictures, United Artists Theater, Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, California Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Guillermo Proano / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

In a statement, DISH replied that Jackson is “only listening to the Tribune side of the story” and that both Tribune and Jackson failed to respond to an offer to meet and discuss the issues.

Meanwhile, back in April, WGN renewed “Underground” for a 10-episode second season.

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(Photo Source: AP/PR Photos)