MTV and other Viacom channels went dark for 17 minutes on Wednesday in solidarity with students staging a national school walkout to protest gun violence.
The media conglomerate announced on Tuesday that it would institute a network-wide blackout on Wednesday to honor victims of gun violence and stand in solidarity with the students staging walkouts from schools across the country. The walkouts were planned in the wake of the deadly school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida.
Viacom confirmed its intention on Twitter this morning.
Viacom is standing with all students as they participate in the #NationalSchoolWalkout against Gun Violence. From 10:00-10:17am, our networks will be going dark in solidarity to support the reach and impact of their activism.
— Viacom (@Viacom) March 14, 2018
The company’s blog post expanded on its decision, explaining the 17 minute pause would be “a tribute to the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting, and to all young victims of gun violence.”
A Viacom executive expressed the company’s commitment to “elevate the many brave and bold activists.”
“This generation continues to be the driving force for change,” said Viacom Executive Vice President of Global Inclusion Marva Smalls. “With more than 17 young people dying from gun violence every single day, unfortunately no community is safe. We believe it’s critical to support the inspiring efforts of our youth, who are literally fighting for their lives. Viacom also has a responsibility to our audiences to do everything we can to elevate the many brave and bold activists to help them extend the reach and impact of their voices in this important movement.”
Viacom also announced it would be changing the logos across its network to orange in support of Everytown for Gun Safety. The Logos will remain orange until the national March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018.
Viacom is the world’s ninth largest broadcasters and owns the rights to such television networks as Comedy Central, Black Entertainment Television (BET), Nickelodeon, and MTV amongst others.