For 17 minutes on Wednesday, all Viacom channels went dark in solidarity with students protesting gun violence nationwide.
The channels, which include MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, the Paramount Network and TV Land, went off the air to honor the 17 people killed in a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The Valentine’s Day shooting spurred a national youth-led movement to speak out against the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S., and the inaction on the part of lawmakers to pass stricter gun control regulation.
“Viacom stands with all students as they participate in the national school walkout against gun violence,” read the stark message that replaced regular programming across the company’s channels.
“This generation continues to be the driving force for change,” said Marva Smalls, Viacom’s executive vice president of global inclusion, in a press release. “With more than 17 young people dying from gun violence every single day, unfortunately, no community is safe.”
Smalls continued to say that Viacom has a “responsibility to our audiences to do everything we can to elevate the many brave and bold activists to help them extend the reach and impact of their voices in this important
The walkouts Wednesday were among several protests planned for coming weeks. The March for Our Lives rally for school safety is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the nation’s capital on March 24, its organizers say. And another round of school walkouts is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.
Eddie Redmayne mourns death of Stephen Hawking
Portraying physicist Stephen Hawking in the 2014 biopic “The Theory of Everything” earned Eddie Redmayne an Oscar, and it also fostered a mutual respect between the actor and renowned thinker, who died Wednesday at age 76.
“We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet,” Redmayne said in a statement to The Times on Wednesday. “My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family.”
Redmayne told the Los Angeles Times in 2014 that he was so nervous upon meeting Hawking for the first time that he began rambling and asked Hawking his birth sign, to which Hawking quipped: “You know, Eddie, I’m an astronomer, not an astrologer.”
Musician will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas is 43 … Actress Eva Longoria is 43 … Model Fabio is 57 … Singer-keyboardist Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone is 75.
Tribune News Service contributed to this report.