Comcast lashed out at the critics of its merger with Time Warner Cable on Wednesday, accusing them of "extortion."
In a regulatory filing, Comcast claimed that after it first announced the deal in February, Netflix and other opponents quietly approached the cable giant with various "self-interested" demands. Their explicit or implicit offer was to support the deal (or at least not oppose it) if the demands were met, Comcast said.
"The significance of this extortion lies in not just the sheer audacity of some of the demands, but also the fact that each of the entities making the 'ask' has all but conceded that if its individual business interests are met, then it has no concern whatsoever about the state of the industry, supposed market power going forward, or harm to consumers, competitors, or new entrants," Comcast wrote in the filing to the Federal Communications Commission.
Comcast singled out Netflix, Dish Network, Discovery Communications, Cogent, and Viamedia for their "egregious" abuses of the regulatory process.
On a conference call with reporters, Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen clarified that he wasn't accusing any company of legal wrongdoing. But he did say the companies are trying to cloak their attempts at financial gain as protecting the public interest.