ViacomCBS will go dark across its domestic entertainment and youth brands today (June 1) for eight minutes and 46 seconds to mark the time in which George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minnesota May 25.
In an internal note, Chris McCarthy, president of entertainment and youth brands at ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, called the event a tribute to Floyd and other victims of racism. The company will provide a call to action encouraging audiences to “help be part of the solution” with online racial justice organization Color of Change.
After a video of Floyd’s murder went viral, protests have erupted across the U.S. calling for an end to police brutality against Black communities.
“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,” McCarthy wrote. “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.”
McCarthy said the group — which includes MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo — will use its platforms to “shine a light on the realities of racial injustice and call for equality,” standing with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and calling for an end to “racist and brutal attacks.”
The entertainment and youth division will also be joining Black Out Tuesday. It will not be holding any meetings or conducting any business, and instead standing “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,” McCarthy added.