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Education or propaganda? Nickelodeon makes children watch 9 MINUTES of ‘I can’t breathe’ BLM commercial, polarizing parents

Education or propaganda? Nickelodeon makes children watch 9 MINUTES of ‘I can’t breathe’ BLM commercial, polarizing parents
Children’s TV network Nickelodeon went silent for nearly nine minutes as a gesture of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But pushing social-justice rhetoric on such a young audience has rubbed many the wrong way.

The channel, owned by Viacom, stopped its transmission for eight minutes and 46 seconds on Tuesday “in support of justice, equality, and human rights,” presenting children with a black screen on which the phrase “I can’t breathe” faded in and out, timed with audio of a person breathing. That spot was preceded by a promotion scrolling Nickelodeon’s “Declaration of Kids’ Rights” over an orange background and a pledge to “stand in solidarity” with “Black colleagues, creators, partners, and audiences” while condemning racism and violence.

The clip finished by urging viewers to “Join @colorofchange and countless others to call on public officials across the country to take real action,” and included a number to text for more information.

Some found it “powerful,” declaring that Nickelodeon had done more than the government and other celebrities by reaching out to young people.

Others were leery of leveling political messaging at kids.

A few even suggested Nickelodeon was virtue-signaling to cover up its own misdeeds. One of its top producers was quietly let go in 2018, after years of disturbing pedophilia rumors and accusations.

However, many commenters jeered at the parents who took issue with the spot, demanding they “check their privilege and educate their children.”

Black kids, they reasoned, have to live with police violence – so why shouldn’t white kids suffer through a nine-minute TV spot?

The promotion also aired on MTV, Comedy Central and other Viacom channels, and in Canada, too, for some reason.

The police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd has triggered protests nationwide, erupting into violence and looting in some places and triggering a heavy-handed police crackdown. Major corporations have pledged their support, and the entertainment industry announced a work stoppage "protest" of its own, called Black Out Tuesday. The commercial is part of Viacom's participation in the latter. 

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