A number of major Viacom channels, including Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon went off the air today to recognize the national student walkout in schools across America protesting gun violence. The channels went off the air for 17 minutes from 10AM to 10:17AM today.
BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, the Paramount Network, and TV Land all went off the air for precisely 17 minutes earlier today to honor the 17 victims killed last month in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Thousands of students around the country walked out of their classrooms today, exactly one month after the Valentine’s Day shooting. Many marched outside the White House and on Capitol Hill, some joined by pro-gun control lawmakers. Survivors from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland gathered in solidarity and memorial at the nearby Pine Trails Park.
“This generation continues to be the driving force for change,” said Marva Smalls, Viacom’s executive vice president of global inclusion, in a press release. “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,” Smalls added. “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 let students take over MTV’s social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook during the walkout and changed the logos of MTV and Comedy Central to orange for the 10 days leading up to the March For Our Lives scheduled in Washington, DC on March 24th. Programs will continue to cover the issue: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah will cover the growing anti-gun violence moment in the US, while The Opposition with Jordan Klepper will interview Parkland high school students, former military officials, and more.
BET is also going to be offering grants to young activists who have ideas about dealing with gun violence and mental health issues. Country Music Television is going to work more with the country music industry to advocate for gun control.