All programming will be suspended for eight minutes and 46 seconds to bring awareness to the #BlackLivesMatter movement

By Aurelie Corinthios
June 01, 2020 03:48 PM
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ViacomCBS's entertainment and youth brands will stage a blackout in honor of George Floyd.

In an internal memo on Sunday, president of the ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group Chris McCarthy announced that all brands will be going dark on Monday for eight minutes and 46 seconds, which marks the time in which Floyd, an unarmed black man, was pinned to the ground by a white police officer with a knee on his neck, and later died.

The blackout is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET and will occur across all platforms (linear and digital) on MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Net, Pop, VH1, TV Land, CMT + Logo. A call to action will be provided encouraging audiences to get involved and help be a part of the solution with ViacomCBS partner Color of Change.

In his memo, McCarthy explained that the blackout is part of the company's efforts to call attention to the realities of racial injustice and support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

McCarthy also said that the company would join Blackout Tuesday "to focus our attention away from work and towards our community."

On June 2, "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," he wrote.

Nickelodeon, another ViacomCBS brand, also announced that it would be going dark on Monday. In a statement posted on Instagram, the channel said it would be going off the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds "in support of justice, equality, and human rights."

Many major music studios and their employees will also participate in the blackout on Tuesday. Among the outlets and labels committed to the effort are Def Jam RecordingsIsland RecordsWarner Music GroupCapitol Records and Sony Music.

A statement circulating social media said the initiative is an "urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change."

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Floyd's death has sparked ongoing nationwide protests. The demonstrations began earlier last week in Minneapolis when footage of him being pinned to the ground for almost nine minutes began circulating online. In the video, three other cops stood by as Floyd said repeatedly he couldn't breathe and pleaded for the officer to stop. Floyd was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after. He was 46.

All four officers were fired last week, and Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday. Outraged Americans have continued to storm their cities in dissent of police brutality and systemic racism.