Paramount CEO Bob Bakish disclosed in an internal memo to staff Tuesday that the company is taking steps to halt its business operations Russia. It became the latest Hollywood company doing this.
Bakish also announced the donation of $1 million by Paramount to aid humanitarian relief in Ukraine. Paramount employees can take part in a matching program that Paramount has set up.
Aside from the previously announced plan to stop theatrical releases “Sonic the Hedgehog” “The Lost City,”Paramount is also taking further steps. Among them, Simon & Schuster has suspended sales to accounts in Russia, along with the licensing of translation rights to Russian publishers. Paramount Consumer Products will suspend all new Russian licensing agreements. Paramount Consumer Products will also halt all new licensing deals in Russia due to technical and contractual partner complexities. However, linear channel distribution and some content licensing are being stopped.
“Since the beginning of this crisis, our teams across the world have been working around the clock to determine the best, and most importantly – safest – ways we as a business can show our support for all those impacted,”Bakish wrote his memo. “I want to be clear, the safety and security of employees and all those who work with us is, and will always be, our top priority. We continue to offer specialized support services to hundreds of staff, freelance and fixed term employees in Ukraine, Russia, and Poland whose lives are being impacted by this crisis.”
The full memo to Paramount employees can be viewed below.
Like many others, I am following closely the tragic, unprovoked invasion in Ukraine. It’s heartbreaking to watch the ripple effects of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and Eastern Europe on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, as well as Russia’s own, is a tragic sight.
Since the beginning of this crisis, our teams across the world have been working around the clock to determine the best, and most importantly – safest – ways we as a business can show our support for all those impacted. It is my goal to make it clear that safety and security are our top priorities. We offer support services to hundreds, both fixed-term and freelance, in Ukraine, Russia and Poland, whose lives are being affected by the crisis.
We have taken a number of steps to suspend operations in Russia. These include halting the supply of Paramount Global content. Paramount Pictures has announced that it will suspend theatrical release in Russia of all our upcoming films, including Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and The Lost City 2. Simon & Schuster has suspended sales to accounts in Russia, along with the licensing of translation rights to Russian publishers. Paramount Consumer Products has also decided to halt any new licensing agreements in Russia. Because of existing contractual, technical, or partner complexities, it will take longer to suspend other activities, such as the distribution and licensing of content, and others.
We also make a $1M donation for humanitarian relief. Employees are encouraged to help others in crisis as the humanitarian crisis unfolds. The Paramount Matching Program is available to eligible employees in the UK or the US. We are currently expanding this program to other international regions. More information will be provided shortly.
We are also using our content and resources to help those who need it, including the power of our global platforms. This will ensure that the world witnesses this tragedy as well as support humanitarian relief efforts. Telefe, Channel 10, Telefe, Channel 5, Chilevision and Channel 5 have reported around the clock from the ground in Ukraine.
Channel 5 recently broadcast a fundraising special in Ukraine, How YOU Can Help. MTVE initiated a global call for action, both social and linear, to allow audiences to contribute funds to relief efforts of several organizations, such as World Central Kitchen, International Medical Corps and Save The Children. Our Consumer Products team donates toys, products and funds to help families in Ukraine. And, our team is working to quickly bring Ukrainian-language kids’ content to European countries like Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain and France for free on Pluto TV, and to Poland through local Nickelodeon distribution partners. And there’s more underway and to come.
We will continue to support the dedicated team in Moscow as we suspend our operations. Please be aware of the impact this crisis has on your colleagues in Europe, especially those from Ukraine, Russia, or Eastern Europe.
As we receive additional updates, we will post them.