Nickelodeon goes off air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in tribute to George Floyd
3 June 2020, 16:32 | Updated: 3 June 2020, 22:35
"People are complaining that it was unnerving, scary, uncomfortable. That's the damn point."
Nickelodeon took a stand yesterday (June 2) in "support of justice, equality and human rights", as they, along with several other Viacom channels, went off air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
For the duration of that time, a countdown was shown at the top of a black screen, alongside the words "I can't breathe" and the sound of breathing. It was the same amount of time that George Floyd, was pinned to the ground, with a white police officer's knee on his neck. Days after Floyd's death, the police officer was charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder. (UPDATE 3/6/2020: The charges have since been upped to second-degree murder.)
The network also shared an updated version of their Declaration of Kids' Rights, which was first shared in 1990, alongside the countdown.
On nickelodeon they have a “I can’t Breathe” commercial that shows how long is 9 mins. During this 9 mins you hear nothing just breathing.— ♔ALLANDRA♔ (@BellezaDeAltura) June 1, 2020
The full Declaration of Kids' Rights reads:
"You have the right to be seen, heard and respected as a citizen of the world.
You have the right to a world that is peaceful.
You have the right to be treated with equality, regardless of the color of your skin.
You have the right to be protected from harm, injustice, and hatred.
You have the right to an education that prepares you to run the world.
You have the right to your opinions and feelings, even if others don't agree with them."
The 9 minute broadcast reportedly aired on all Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and Logo.
While some people complained about its inclusion on a children's network, others are applauding Nickelodeon for airing such a powerful statement.
Nickelodeon stopping broadcast to show nine minutes of the words 'I can't breathe' so the sound effect of laboured breathing.— Charlie Higson (@CPHigson) June 2, 2020
People are complaining that it was unnerving, scary, uncomfortable. Thats the damn point.
white people being enraged over a Nickelodeon commercial scaring their children is the perfect example of their privilege. while your kid is scared of a commercial black kids are scared of being murdered solely for their skin color . disgusting.— ⁷ (@gcfshobi) June 2, 2020
My ten year old nephew cried to me on the phone that he has been thinking about he's going to die and how sad it will be so I think Braelyn and Kayleigh can see a Nickelodeon spot reminding them that their black preschool friends don't get to pretend their way out of this.— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) June 2, 2020
Thank you @Nickelodeon. And parents that are saying this scared your kids? I’m scared for my kids when they leave our home everyday because of the color of their skin. #teachablemoment https://t.co/EvDroAqjAs— Sunny Hostin (@sunny) June 2, 2020
Nickelodeon’s official Facebook page also responded to one person who said "it was not the right platform for this at all," by writing: “Unfortunately, some kids live in fear every day. It’s our job to use our platform to make sure their voices are heard and their stories are told.”
To the folks like the person in the below screenshot, angry that Nickelodeon aired a powerful 8 minute and 46 second statement because it was “inappropriate” for children:— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) June 2, 2020
Tamir Rice was 12 years old when he was gunned down by the police while holding a toy gun. pic.twitter.com/0Z5ciUVMef