In an unusual move, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, Starz and other major Hollywood players are using their corporate social media accounts to take a stand and support the Black Lives Matter movement amid the ongoing nationwide protests decrying the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. Meanwhile, CEO of ViacomCBS-owned Paramount Jim Gianopulos sent an internal memo to employees, expressing that “Too many members of the Black community have had their breath stolen from them through racial injustice.”
Netflix tweeted on Saturday afternoon: “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.”
The move drew accolades on the platform, including from director Ava DuVernay and “Orange Is the New Black” and “Mrs. America” star Uzo Aduba.
And Alphabet-owned YouTube on Friday posted that “We stand in solidarity against racism and violence. When members of our community hurt, we all hurt. We’re pledging $1M in support of efforts to address social injustice.”
A number of other entertainment brands have followed suit as of Saturday night, as protests have gained momentum throughout the nation, now in their fifth day.
Notably, Disney-owned Hulu tweeted and posted on Instagram the message that “We support Black lives. Today, and every day. You are seen. You are heard. And we are with you.”
No other Disney corporate brands appear to have issued statements on the matter.
Several WarnerMedia entertainment brands’ social media accounts joined in the support. HBO, HBO Max, TBS, TNT all changed their Twitter handles to #BlackLivesMatter and posted the following:
Amazon Studios posted on Twitter and Instagram that “Together we stand with the Black community — colleagues, artists, writers, storytellers, producers, our viewers — and all allies in the fight against racism and injustice.”
Lionsgate-owned Starz also lent its corporate voice to the cause. “We cannot stand silent while our Black communities under the weight of violence, discrimination and injustice,” wrote Starz on Instagram. “Color of Change and the NAACP are among the organizations taking the lead in the fight for racial justice in America. We support them in their mission and you can too.”
Quibi changed its Twitter bio to read, “We stand together against injustice. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Social media platforms also echoed that support for the movement, with Twitter changing its bio to simply read “#BlackLivesMatter” and TikTok issuing the following statement:
“At TikTok we deeply value the diverse voices among our users, creators, artists, partners, and employees. We stand with the Black community and are proud to provide a platform where #blacklivesmatter and #georgefloyd generate powerful and important views with over 1 billion views. We are committed to fostering a space where everyone is seen and heard.”
Twitch similarly posted a statement:
“Black people have been suffering under the oppressive weight of racism in America for far too long. We cannot delight in the creative contributions of the Black community on Twitch and remain silent while they are in pain. We’re asking you to come together to and stand up for Black lives whether it’s through your time, treasure, or talent. Don’t let today’s injustice stop us from creating a better tomorrow for our community.”
Here’s the full internal memo from Gianopulos to Paramount employees:
TO: Paramount Employees
FROM: Jim Gianopulos
DATE: May 30th, 2020
Across our nation, we are witnessing the real-time expression of years and years of collective pain. The addition of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor to an already unbearable tally of those who have been killed because of the color of their skin has brought to a boiling point the outrage over the systemic racial injustice in this country.
As children, we learn the pledge of allegiance, with the concluding promise that ours is a country built on “liberty and justice for all.” What we have seen in these past several weeks, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, centuries, is example after example of the gap between this promise and the reality in which many live. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” That these words bear repeating today is a painful reminder of how far we have to go as a society in ensuring justice for all. Too many members of the Black community have had their breath stolen from them through racial injustice.
As a nation, our heartbreak and outrage are not enough. The fabric of our society, the founding promise that all men are created equal, is broken, and it is the responsibility of all of us to raise our voices and be part of the solution. At the same time, we have an opportunity for internal reflection as we ask ourselves hard questions about the beliefs that are entrenched in our culture, and explore how we can become better citizens and stewards for one another. We must be better, and we will be better, with love and humanity leading the way.
I know that this comes at a time when tensions are already high and anxiety is ubiquitous as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic. In the midst of this incredibly difficult time, know that we are here for you and we remain a community and company that is stronger together and committed to racial and social justice.
Please take care of yourselves and your families and we will strive together to overcome these troubled times.
With my heartfelt wishes to you all,