The ramifications of the invasion of Ukraine are now going beyond sanctions and protests in the street.
Vladimir Putin’s atrocious invasion of Ukraine is sparking mass protest across the world, and now Hollywood, the music industry, and some arts venues are joining in. Many are standing firmly with the Ukrainian people as they fight for their rightful sovereignty in one of the most tense geopolitical moments of our lifetime. And while the Russian people have been protesting the invasion as well — only to be met with gross totalitarianism — unfortunately, they will feel the weight of the world’s protest. The entertainment industry’s boycott is largely superficial, but it does signify a united effort to stand with Ukraine across industries. Most notably right now, Warner Brothers, the Walt Disney Company, and Sony Pictures are leading the Hollywood effort to stand with Ukraine while bands also have begun to cancel touring plans, and theaters have canceled Russian performances.
This means major, highly anticipated releases like The Batman will not be premiered in Russia any time soon. The decision comes just days before the newest rendition of caped crusader was set for a North American and overseas release. “In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia. We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy,” said a spokesperson.
Disney, the first to make the move, made a similar statement: “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. ... 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.” The studios’ decisions announced on Monday come after the Ukrainian Film Academy called for a boycott this past weekend.
The entertainment industry’s protest is in step with economic sanctions that have made the Russian currency drastically fall in the last week. The music industry is also following suit in terms of canceling future engagements in the region. Louis Tomlinson, Iggy Pop, Franz Ferdinand, Nick Cave and Green Day have all canceled tour dates in Russia and Ukraine that were on the horizon. Tomlinson posted, “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.” Nick Cave put out a similar statement, “Ukraine we stand with you, and with all those in Russia who oppose this brutal act, and we pray this madness is brought to a close soon.” Franz Ferdinand also made a point to acknowledge, “We love Russia. This great country has inspired our band through its art and literature since we first played there seventeen years ago,” while also noting their solidarity with Ukraine.
Conversely, venues around the world are canceling dates with acts from Russia. Most notably, The Russian State Ballet of Siberia has canceled its remaining UK tour dates after several theaters had canceled their performances. The UK’s Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries supported the move, stating, “Representatives of the Russian state cannot continue to perform in the UK and I fully support venues that are standing by the people of Ukraine.” It’s clear from the extent of the growing boycotts that various forms of protest to the invasion of Ukraine will continue. People are standing with Ukraine and Russia will continue to feel those ramifications, whether it's in the arts or economically.