ViacomCBS is honoring George Floyd with an eight-minute and 46-second blackout video, symbolizing the length of time that Floyd was suffocated by a police officer, resulting in his death.
The phrase “I can’t breathe” will pulse across the screen at 5 p.m. ET/PT when ViacomCBS channels go dark on Monday. Programming will resume at 5:09 p.m.
Below is Chris McCarthy’s full memo to his staff.
Each of us is welcomed into this world with our first breath. It unites us across the planet as human beings. 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.
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.
Our team has created a powerful graphic that focuses on the line “I Can’t Breathe” to describe the lives of many who are brutalized by a system built on systemic racism.
We are seeing the tragic impact of discrimination affect our community in a myriad of ways – including the disproportionate number of people of color who have been impacted by COVID-19 – another life or death fight for our breath.
Breath is one of the many things that unites us – and during this time, when Black lives are under attack in so many ways, we want to leverage all of our platforms to show our ally-ship. We have partnered with Color of Change to include a call to action – an important step to help all of us understand that we have a responsibility to get involved and be part of the solution. Please be on the look out for a note later today on how all of us can get involved in Black Out Tuesday tomorrow.
We know there is a lot of work ahead of us, and I am committed to action beyond these words with all of you. We must continue to work together, to look within, and to support one other and our fellow humans – all with compassion for each other.
ViacomCBS’s international entertainment and youth partners will also be going dark, as well as other and other ViacomCBS brands including BET, Nickelodeon and CBS Sports. MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo Media, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, Smithsonian Channel and TV Land are also among channels going dark.
Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after being pinned face-down on the ground with white officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pressed against his neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident was caught on video by a bystander. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Floyd’s death was ruled a “homicide caused by asphyxia” on Monday after his family insisted an independent autopsy be conducted to determine his cause of death.
Watch the tribute from ViacomCBS above.