UPDATED 1:30 PM: ViacomCBS has unveiled a powerful 8-minute, 46-second video tribute to George Floyd, which marks the time in which Floyd was pinned to the ground with a police officer’s knee on his neck, resulting in his death. You can watch above.
In an internal memo, ViacomCBS President of Entertainment and Youth Brands Chris McCarthy announced Sunday that all entertainment and youth brands and platforms will be going dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds at 5 PM Monday, which marks the time in which George Floyd was killed. The time will not only serve as a tribute to Floyd but as a tribute to all those who have been victims of racism including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others.
ViacomCBS also went dark in 2018 for 17 minutes in solidarity with the National School Walkout to honor the 17 students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who killed.
In addition to the killings, McCarthy addresses the everyday inequality in the community and how the pandemic disproportionately impacts communities of color. He went on to talk about what ViacomCBS is doing as a call to action to help support the communities including Black Out Tuesday where they will not hold any meeting or conduct any business in order to stand in solidarity with their Black colleagues.
ViacomCBS’s international entertainment and youth partners will be going dark, as well as other and other ViacomCBS brands including BET, Nickelodeon and CBS Sports. MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo Media, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel and TV Land are also among channels going dark.
Nickelodeon also released a scrolling video which contains language from the Kid’s Bill of Rights which the network first put together on June 7, 1990. It begins with the statement “Nickelodeon is going off the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in support of justice, equality and equal rights.” You can watch below.
Read McCarthy’s full memo below.
The last few weeks have brought to the surface long standing racism, videos of unspeakable behavior and the harsh reality of inequality many in our community deal with on a regular and daily basis. In Minneapolis, the horrifying murder of George Floyd, in Georgia the senseless killing of Ahmaud Arbery, and in Kentucky, the deplorable shooting of Breonna Taylor, to name just a few recent examples.
This is on top of a pandemic which has emphasized the tragic inequalities that disproportionately impact communities of color, especially African American and Latinx communities, in addition to the unjust targeting of Asian Americans.
While I am not a person of color and can never fully understand this experience, I am offended by the systemic racism and want to stand together with our communities of color in the hurt and pain. We must all do our part – discrimination against one of us is discrimination against all of us.
Therefore, as President of our Group, I commit that we will do the following:
- Use our platforms to shine a light on the realities of racial injustice and call for equality.
This morning, we made the following statements across our brands and platforms.
We stand with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and call for the end of systemic racism. These racist and brutal attacks must end. We call for justice.
- Amplify the voices of the communities we serve and provide a call to action for change.
Tomorrow, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, we will go dark across our brands and platforms to mark the time in which George Floyd was brutally killed as a tribute to Mr. Floyd and other victims of racism. We will provide a call to action encouraging our audiences to get involved and help be part of the solution with our partner Color of Change.
- Foster a culture that deeply values and respects diversity and inclusion.
On Tuesday, we are joining Black Out Tuesday, to focus our attention away from work and towards our community. We will not hold any meetings nor conduct any business – rather we will stand in solidarity with our African American colleagues and loved ones across the country.
This is just the beginning and I acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. Over the next few weeks, you will be invited to join us for discussions on ways we can use our brands and platforms to inspire and enact change.