Nickelodeon pauses to play breathing sounds for eight minutes straight in honour of George Floyd

Children’s TV channel encouraged viewers to ‘call on public officials’ for change

Isobel Lewis
Wednesday 03 June 2020 07:58 BST
Nickelodeon broadcasts eight minutes of breathing sounds in tribute to Black Lives Matter

Children’s TV channel Nickeloden paused its programming to pay tribute to George Floyd.

On Monday (1 June), the US network took a break from kids’ programmes to commemorate Floyd’s death and acknowledge the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the United States.

A black screen was shown for eight minutes and 46 seconds, with the words “I can’t breathe” appearing in white text and low breathing sounds heard in the background.

The video reference clips that circulated online last week of a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, with the 46-year-old man on the ground crying out: “I can’t breathe.”

The words were also used by Eric Garner in the events leading up to his death in 2014.

A phone number was shared, encouraging Nickelodeon’s young viewers to “call on public officials across the country to take real action”.

Earlier in the evening, the channel had reissued a message originally created for them in 1990, telling viewers: “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 colour of your skin,” it continued.

“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.”

Defending their decision to share the video after some parents accused them of “scaring children”, Nickelodeon wrote: “Unfortunately, some kids live in fear everyday. It is our job to use our platform to make sure that their voices are heard and their stories are told.”

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