Today across the country, students are staging a walkout to protest school shootings and how politicians respond to them. It’s one of several protests planned for this March, including the March For Our Lives on March 24th. But, catching some by surprise, the cable channels run by Viacom, most notably Nickelodeon, went off the air from 10 am to 10:17 am in a show of solidarity.
For context, the walkouts happening today are lasting for seventeen minutes, one minute for each of the victims in the Parkland, FL mass shooting. Students had asked that people not associated with schools stay away from the protest, for both reasons of focus and of safety. Instead they asked people wear orange in support. Nickelodeon took it a step further.
Other Viacom networks participated as well:
In a blog post, the company laid out that this is part of an ongoing initiative, which includes heavy news coverage of the marches, donations to the March for Our Lives and public service efforts on the part of its music networks.
It’s an interesting move. As you can see from the tweets, Nickelodeon didn’t specifically explain why it was off the air, and parents have already taken to Twitter to complain about the protest. But the alternative, to simply ignore it, seems impossible when students are marching on the Capitol and politicians repeatedly attempt to change the subject, doesn’t seem viable, either.