AMC Networks has taken the unusual step of asking its U.S. employees to identify charitable organizations that tackle issues related to racial inequality to receive a $1,000 donation from the company.
The company’s goal is to have the donations be spread among organizations that employees already work with or support in other ways. It’s an effort to distribute the money more widely and help smaller organizations that work at the grassroots level. AMC Networks has about 1,000 full-time employees in the U.S.
AMC Networks took a similar approach earlier this year in giving employees $1,000 apiece to donate to coronavirus-related relief efforts.
“While AMC Networks has always prided itself on being a warm and human place to work, let’s acknowledge that the playing field isn’t level for all humans,” Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, wrote in a memo to staffers on June 1. “Let’s make it our mission to do what we can to rectify that where we can with open hearts and minds and with enough strength to be humble and learn from those who experience discrimination first hand. Let’s send our love and compassion to those amongst us who are hurting right now, and pledge to support and stand with them in this moment and beyond. We want to hear from you.”
AMC Networks gave employees June 4 as a day off for a “Day of Reflection.” The company also plans to observe a nearly nine-minute blackout across its five cable channels — AMC, SundanceTV, IFC, We TV and BBC America — on June 4 at 3:45 p.m. ET as a tribute to Floyd, the unarmed Black man who died May 25 after he was restrained with a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes by Minneapolis police. Floyd’s death has sparked widespread protests in the U.S. and other countries and it has led to criminal charges against the four police officers involved in his arrest.
AMC Networks plans to host a company town hall to discuss social justice and inequality issues on June 5.
“This is a profound moment in the history of our country and, for so many, a profoundly personal moment as we confront racial inequality and related issues that have persisted for far too long,” AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan wrote in a memo to staffers this week. “In recent days, like many companies and organizations, we are discussing not only what we should do to respond to and recognize the moment we are in, but to bring about lasting change that is needed and long overdue.”