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Viacom TV Networks Suspend Programming In Support of the National Student Walkout

Networks like MTV and BET went dark for 17 minutes

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Sadie Gennis

Viacom suspended all programming on its networks for 17 minutes on Wednesday in honor of the 17 people who were killed in the Parkland shooting in February.

According to The Hill, channels including MTV, BET, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon paused their regular programming beginning at 10 a.m. ET in support of the National School Walkout, during which students and teachers will walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes on Wednesday to protest for stricter gun-control laws.

Viacom also revealed that students will take over MTV's social media accounts during the walkout. "We believe it's critical to support the inspiring efforts of our youth, who are literally fighting for their lives," Marva Smalls, Viacom's executive vice president of global inclusion, said in a statement. "Viacom also 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 movement."

The company also plans to offer its continued support of the efforts to end gun violence by covering the March For Our Lives protest taking place in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 24. In addition, BET will offer grants for young activists who have "innovative ideas about addressing gun violence and mental health issues" and CMT will directly appeal to country music industry to rally support gun safety.