TV, Film Communities Condemn Russian Invasion, Voice Support for Ukraine

(Image credit: istockphoto)

Media giants Netflix, Disney and other members of the Hollywood community took actions on Monday to show support for Ukraine amid the ongoing, unprovoked attack from Russia.

Warner Bros., the Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures announced a “pause” on releasing their films in Russia, including the highly anticipated superhero flick, “The Batman,” which opens in the U.S. as well as in other countries, Friday, March 4. 

“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming Turning Red from Pixar,” Disney said in a statement. “We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation. In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”

Netflix, which just signed an agreement last December to begin carrying  20 Russian federal television channels on its streaming service, announced it would no longer comply with the terms. 

“Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” Netflix said in a statement.

The Motion Picture Association also announced its solidarity with Ukraine:

“The Motion Picture Association stands with the international community in upholding the rule of law and condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine," MPA said. "On behalf of our member companies, who lead the film, TV and streaming industry, we express our strongest support for Ukraine’s vibrant creative community who, like all people, deserve to live and work peacefully.

“We will continue to monitor the situation, working closely with our members and partners throughout the global creative sector,” it added. 

Russia Today, an international TV network with a pro-Russian slant is being kicked off of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, while Canada and European nations have also sent the channel into exile.  

Ukraine was also top of mind at the Screen Actors Guild awards on Sunday night, when Succession star Brian Cox closed his speech accepting the award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series with a plea to stand with the embattled country. 

"They are told under pain of high treason that they cannot say a word about Ukraine and I think that is pretty awful,” said Cox.

The North American Broadcasters Association also issued a statement in support of maintaining freedom  of the press in covering the war. 

“As the situation between Russia and Ukraine escalates, access to trusted, factual, and impartial information is more critical than ever,” NABA said. "All media broadcasters and the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) members are focused on doing our job for the public in difficult circumstances and we will not hesitate to condemn any infringements or violations of press freedom. 

“It is vital for journalists to be allowed to continue to operate both freely and safely, and report without hindrance,” NABA added. “Supporting media freedom must be prioritized, not despite these challenging circumstances, but because of them.”

David Ross, president/CEO of Ross Video, who is of Ukrainian heritage, posted his support for Ukraine on Linkedin:

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.