Reported by CARLOS GARCIA | March 03, 2022
The U.S. arm of a Russian state-owned media outlet shut down on Thursday after being expelled from several platforms over the Russian invasion into Ukraine. CNN first reported that Russia Today was ceasing operations and firing most of its staff in the United States. The memo obtained by CNN from the general manager of T&R Productions blamed the shutdown on “unforeseen business interruption events.”
“Unfortunately, we anticipate this layoff will be permanent, meaning that this will result in the permanent separation from employment of most T&R employees at all locations,” wrote Misha Solodovnikov.
The media network had been an outlet for pro-Russian propaganda but was removed from DirecTV this week and then later from Roku streaming services. On Tuesday, Google said that they had blocked mobile apps connected to Sputnik and RT from their app store and from their search tool. Apple made similar moves on its app store.
RT Deputy Editor-in-Chief Anna Belkina issued a statement angrily decrying the bans.
“This collective ‘establishment’ seems to be terrified of a mere presence of any outside voice for the fear of losing their historically captive audience, if that audience encounters a different perspective,” she said.
CNN also detailed a personal meeting between Solodovnikov and the hosts, correspondents, and producers of RT American in the Washington, D.C., bureau on Thursday based on a source who attended it. Solodovnikov told the employees that their jobs were being terminated with two months severance pay. One RT host spoke to CNN under the condition of anonymity about the somber meeting.
“I have never felt more heartbroken as they have nothing to do with this conflict and seriously were just trying to make a decent living to provide for their families,” the host said.
Another source told CNN that people were shocked, and many cried after the announcement.
Here’s more about the effort against Russia Today:
Google blocks RT, Sputnik from Play app store www.youtube.com