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E!'s Justin Sylvester Shows Solidarity for Jacob Blake by Walking Off Daily Pop Set

By Allison Crist Aug 27, 2020 7:25 PMTags
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E! co-host Justin Sylvester walked off Thursday, Aug. 27's Daily Pop in a show of solidarity with the NBA players who decided to strike in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake

Sylvester explained his reasoning before leaving the set, first pointing to the fact that the recent shooting is far from being an isolated incident.

"You know, for me, it's kind of sad that even after Breonna Taylor, after George Floyd, after Trayvon Martin, we are still here and still having to take a stand against this," he told co-hosts Carissa Culiner and Morgan Stewart. "And what's even sadder is, what are people doing when we're not watching? What are you doing when there's not somebody sitting there with a camera?"

Sylvester continued, "It's really upsetting that the only way we can get this on the news, or get this out, is if we take a stand; if we get up and we walk out of a room."

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"So with that being said, I love you guys from the bottom of my heart, but as Black man, I have to take a stand and I'm going to stand in solidarity with Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain," Sylvester said before leaving Daily Pop.

Culiner and Stewart expressed their support for him, with the latter also adding, "Honestly, it's gotten to the point where, I mean, we can talk about outrage and prayers as Justin just said, but it's like, enough is enough at this point."

"The fact that people are being treated this way, it's beyond unacceptable," Stewart continued.

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The emotional Daily Pop came a day after athletes from multiple teams in the NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS—all following the Milwaukee Bucks' lead—refused to play their scheduled games in the wake of Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, WI, being shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday.

News and a bystander-filmed video of the confrontation, which took place in front of three of Blake's children, quickly spread on social media, eventually sparking protests in Kenosha and around the U.S. Blake is currently paralyzed from the waist down and doctors don't know if the condition is permanent, according to NBC News, who cited a family lawyer.

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According to Sylvester, who opened up to E! after Thursday's Daily Pop, he was inspired by sports commentator Kenny Smith walking off the TNT Inside the NBA set Wednesday night in solidarity with the NBA players.

"When I saw Kenny Smith walk off set, it started a conversation I don't think many people were having about Jacob Blake," Sylvester said. "And if Kenny Smith can inspire his audience to start those uncomfortable conversations, I should be brave enough to do the same...no matter what the consequences or backlash may be."

Sylvester explained that it feels as though "we are back at the starting line and it's exhausting as f--k," however, as hard as it may be, he's not giving up hope and will continue "to be the change" he wants to see. 

"And that doesn't happen by being defeated...it happens with speaking up and starting the conversation," Sylvester added. "My voice won't bring them back, but if I scream loud enough, it will hopefully prevent it from happening in the future!"

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Sylvester also encouraged Daily Pop fans to do the same. 

"I think everyone can be better allies by simply having these tough conversations in their own homes with their families, friends and colleagues," he told E! "Then move to the next step and use your social media handles—no matter how big or small—and spread the word of what's happening in our country. I think people underestimate how powerful one single voice can actually be!"

Watch Daily Pop weekdays at 11 a.m., only on E!.