Amid ongoing public outcry and protests over systematic racism, police brutality, and the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis last month, Paramount Network made the sound and long-overdue decision to yank its police-reality series Cops. But the series can still be watched on free streaming service Pluto TV, a service owned by ViacomCBS—which also happens to be the parent company of Paramount Network.
A quick scan of Pluto TV’s binge-watch subsection on Thursday quickly surfaced the now-canceled series, as earlier noted by the Hollywood Reporter. When reached for comment about Cops’ appearance on the service, a spokesperson told Gizmodo that Pluto will continue streaming the show because it believes “it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints.”
“Pluto TV is a free streaming television service, delivering programming from over 200 content partners across over 250 channels to broad and diverse audiences,” the company said. “Pluto TV, by design, is a service that makes available a wide variety of channels programmed by third parties, and we think it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints, even those we disagree with.”
First of all, Paramount Network is not alone in its decision to cancel a series that glorifies police without at all interrogating the systems that allow cops to act violently and too often kill with apparent impunity. A&E yanked its police reality series Live PD this week, as did Investigation Discovery for its series Body Cam.
Pluto did not respond to further questioning about the terms of its licensing agreements, but this is somehow not the only show for which the service has come under fire this week.
The Information reported on Wednesday that ViacomCBS employees are pushing back against the Pluto TV-hosted conservative channel The First, which will be home to disgraced former Fox News ghoulebrity Bill O’Reilly’s No Spin News. According to the Information, an internal petition against O’Reilly’s appearance on the channel cited “a well-documented history of making racist comments, denying the existence of systemic racism, undermining the efforts of Black protesters and insulting Black public figures.”
Pluto is showing its entire ass by positioning itself as a kind of narrative defender of bigoted shitheads and racist cops during this particular time in history. I mean really, what the fuck?