Hollywood hits Russia with its own form of sanctions — barring concerts, movie festivals and more


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While leaders around the world, including President Biden, have announced sanctions on Russia over its multifront war on Ukraine, major players in Hollywood are taking swift action of their own to condemn President Vladimir Putin’s actions.

Over the last week, musicians, festival organizers and industry leaders have announced their decisions to postpone events in Russia, severely limiting entertainment offerings in the country.

Musicians press pause 

The band “Imagine Dragons” was scheduled to perform in both Russia and Ukraine this coming June, but revealed over the weekend its decision to halt the shows.

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“In light of recent events, we’re sad to announce our Russia and Ukraine shows are canceled until further notice. Our thoughts are with Ukraine and all others suffering from this needless war,” a statement on the band’s social media accounts reads. 

Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee and Daniel Platzman of Imagine Dragons perform live at PPL Center on Feb. 16, 2022. The band announced it has canceled shows due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
(Lisa Lake)

Green Day posted a similar statement on its Instagram Story earlier this week.

“With heavy hearts, in light of current events we feel it is necessary to cancel our upcoming show in Moscow at Spartak Stadium,” Green Day wrote.

“We are aware that this moment is not about stadium rock shows, it’s much bigger than that. But we also know that rock and roll is forever and we feel confident there will be a time and a place for us to return in the future,” the band continued. “Refunds available at the point of purchase. Stay safe.”

Louis Tomlinson took to Twitter on Monday to share that tour stops in Moscow and Kyiv have been postponed.

“Due to the recent events in Ukraine, I have to sadly announce that my tour shows in Moscow and Kyiv are cancelled until further notice. The safety of my fans is my priority and my thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine and all those suffering from this needless war,” the former One Direction performer said. 

Similarly, indie pop trio AJR said it was sad to announce its upcoming show in Russia has been canceled and hit at Russia’s “criminal behavior.”

“Thank you to our Russian fans who oppose their country’s unprovoked and criminal behavior. Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine. At this point, the best thing you can do share ACCURATE info.”

Eric Clapton’s shows in St. Petersburg as well as Moscow have also “been canceled and will not be rescheduled,” a rep for the musician told Fox News Digital.

Health, a rock band, also informed fans about its decision to no longer perform at two scheduled appearances in Russia. 

“Though we do not wish to penalize our fans for governmental decisions that are beyond their control, given the current state of affairs we will no longer be performing our previously scheduled shows in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Our thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine,” the statement posted to Instagram reads.

English musician Yungblud announced he was “heartbroken” to cancel his Russian shows scheduled for this summer. 

“Heartbroken because I know the vicious and brutal acts of the Russian regime in Ukraine over the past week do not reflect the attitudes and ideals of the beautiful people who I have met in Russia in the past!”

Movie releases, festivals canned

The cultural backlash against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensified Tuesday as France’s Cannes Film Festival said no Russian delegations would be welcome this year.

The Venice Film Festival, meanwhile, said it was organizing free screenings of the film “Reflection,” about the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region as a sign of solidarity with the people of Ukraine. The screenings are scheduled for next week in Rome, Milan and Venice.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, presents a medal to Valery Gergiev, then the Mariinsky Theatre's artistic director, during an awards ceremony in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, presents a medal to Valery Gergiev, then the Mariinsky Theatre’s artistic director, during an awards ceremony in Moscow.
(Associated Press)

The announcements by Europe’s two premier film festivals came on the heels of other high-profile protests in the arts, including Hollywood’s decision to pull films scheduled for release in Russia and the Munich Philharmonic’s decision to fire chief conductor Valery Gergiev. The orchestra, joined by other orchestras and festivals linked to Gergiev, cited his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his refusal to reject the invasion.

Cannes, which is scheduled for May, is the most global of film festivals and its international village of flag-waving pavilions annually hosts more than 80 countries from around the world.

In a statement, festival organizers said the ban on any official Russian delegation or individuals linked to the Kremlin would remain “unless the war of assault ends in conditions that will satisfy the Ukrainian people.”

The festival didn’t rule out accepting films from Russia. In recent years, Cannes has showcased films from filmmakers like Kirill Serebrennikov, even though the director hasn’t been unable to attend. Serebrennikov is under a three-year travel ban after being accused of embezzlement by the Russian government in a case that was protested by the Russian artistic community and in Europe.

A satellite image shows a blaze at warehouse and destroyed fields in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2022. Inset: Disney logo. 

A satellite image shows a blaze at warehouse and destroyed fields in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Feb. 28, 2022. Inset: Disney logo. 
(Reuters)

After Disney, Warner Bros. and Sony announced they would halt distributing films in Russia, including Warner’s highly anticipated “The Batman,” Paramount Pictures announced likewise Tuesday. That includes upcoming releases like “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and “The Lost City.”

Last week, the European Broadcasting Union announced Russia would not be allowed to enter an act for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Turin in May.

Maneskin from Italy perform Zitti E Buoni after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, May 22, 2021. Last week, the European Broadcasting Union announced Russia would not be allowed to enter an act for this year's Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Turin in May.

Maneskin from Italy perform Zitti E Buoni after winning the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest at Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Saturday, May 22, 2021. Last week, the European Broadcasting Union announced Russia would not be allowed to enter an act for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Turin in May.
(Associated Press)

Leading entertainment companies

Live Nation Entertainment announced Tuesday that it’s “strongly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Live Nation announced Tuesday it will stop doing business with Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.

Live Nation announced Tuesday it will stop doing business with Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.
(Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket )

“We will not promote shows in Russia, and we will not do business with Russia. We’re in the process of reviewing our vendors so we can cease work with any and all Russian-based suppliers,” the company said in a statement.

Several companies, including Google, TikTok, YouTube, DirecTV, and Meta, have restricted access to RT America, a Russian state-owned media outlet that the U.S. State Department describes as a critical element in “Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem.” 

Apple announced it would cease selling all its products in Russia, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac computer and other devices. 

Apple's CEO Tim Cook. The tech company announced it would cease selling its products in Russia.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. The tech company announced it would cease selling its products in Russia.
(Associated Press)

“We’re doing all we can for our teams [in Ukraine] and will be supporting local humanitarian efforts,” Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted last week. 

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Netflix said it will not broadcast 20 Russian state TV channels that it is required to air under Russian media laws. 

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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