Mar 2, 2022 - Economy & Business

Hollywood boycotts Russia

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Hollywood studios are putting projects and releases on pause in Russia, joining tech firms, banks, oil companies and other industries that are boycotting Russia following its brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Why it matters: Studios are putting morals over money by forgoing international box office revenue at a time when the industry is still digging out from the pandemic.

Details: Netflix on Wednesday paused all future projects and acquisitions in Russia while it assesses the impact of current events. 

  • Netflix's move came days after the streaming giant said it will defy a Russian law ordering it to add state propaganda channels to its service there.
  • Disney on Monday paused the release of theatrical films in Russia, "given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis."
  • Sony also said it would be pausing all of its theatrical releases in Russia.
  • Warner Bros. halted its plans to release “The Batman" later this week in Russia.

On Tuesday, a group of European studios, including BBC Studios, ITV Studios and others, paused trade with Russia. Some told Deadline they halted business negotiations with the country. The European Film Academy is also boycotting.

Flashback: Hollywood and other media companies have a recent history of wading into politics.

  • Last year, Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver over new restrictive voting rights laws passed by Georgia.
  • In 2019, multiple production companies, including those from David Simon and Mark Duplass, said they'd boycott Georgia over the so-called "Heartbeat Bill."
  • Numerous Hollywood heavyweight including super-agent Ari Emanuel cut off ties with Saudi Arabia following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Yes, but: Critics of Hollywood argue the industry is too deferential to China, which has been accused of multiple human rights abuses.

The big picture: Dozens of companies around the world have been pulling operations from Russia over the past few days, citing Russia’s escalating war with Ukraine.

What to watch: Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine has finally pushed Western institutions to crack down on Russian state-backed media.

  • DirecTV said Tuesday it would drop RT America from its lineup. Roku banned RT from its channel store globally.
  • Apple and Google have both removed RT News and Sputnik News from their app stores, respectively. Nearly every social media company has banned Russian state media in the EU, following a government mandate there.

Go deeper: Walls closing in on Russia's propaganda machine

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