ViacomCBS’ “I Can’t Breathe” spot.
Several ViacomCBS TV networks, including MTV, Comedy Central, VH1 and more, ran eight minutes and forty-six seconds of breathing sounds with the words “I can’t breathe” Monday evening.
The company said the video is meant to show its support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against police brutality and racial inequality. The video also displays a way for viewers to text Color of Change, an organization that says it provides online actions and in-person events for people to stand up to racial injustice.
The company’s Entertainment & Youth Group networks, including MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Networks, VH1, TV Land, CMT, Logo and MTV partner brands CBS Sports, BET and Nickelodeon ran the spot at 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday.
George Floyd died last week in Minnesota after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes (the same length of the video the networks aired) while taking him into custody. People in cities across America gathered over the weekend to protest the police’s treatment of Floyd and others who have died in police custody.
Chris McCarthy, president of the Entertainment & Youth Group, explained the spot in an email to employees.
“One week ago, for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the breath of one of our fellow humans was taken from him. His name was George Floyd,” he wrote. “Today at 5pm ET, the E&Y brands and platforms around the world will go dark for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to show our support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and the fight against police brutality and racial inequality.”
“We know there is a lot of work ahead of us, and I am committed to action beyond these words with all of you,” McCarthy continued. “We must continue to work together, to look within, and to support one other and our fellow humans – all with compassion for each other.”