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Paramount Pauses Operations in Russia, Makes $1 Million Donation for Ukraine Relief

Simon & Schuster suspended sales and Paramount Consumer Accounts paused new licensing deals, CEO Bob Bakish says

Paramount CEO Bob Bakish announced in an internal memo to staff on Tuesday the steps that the company is taking to pause its business operations in Russia, becoming the latest Hollywood company to do so.

Bakish also announced that Paramount will be donating $1 million to support humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine, and employees in the U.S. and UK can participate in a donation matching program set up by Paramount.

In addition to the previously announced plan to halt the theatrical releases of “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “The Lost City,” Paramount is now also taking additional 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 pause all new licensing deals in Russia. And while there are other contractual and technical partner complexities, the distribution of linear channels and some content licensing is also being paused.

“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 in 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.”

You can read the full memo to Paramount employees below:

Team,

Like many of you, I am closely following the devastating, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The resulting humanitarian crisis and its ripple effects on the lives of millions of people across Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and in Russia itself, is heartbreaking to witness.

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. 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.

We are taking a series of steps to suspend our operations in Russia, including pausing the supply of Paramount Global content. We have announced that Paramount Pictures will pause the theatrical release of our upcoming films in Russia, including The Lost City, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Simon & Schuster has suspended sales to accounts in Russia, along with the licensing of translation rights to Russian publishers. Additionally, Paramount Consumer Products will pause all new licensing deals in Russia. Other activity, including the distribution of linear channels and some content licensing, will take more time to pause due to existing contractual, technical and partner complexities.

We are also making a $1M donation to support humanitarian relief. In addition to the corporate donation, employees are encouraged to directly help those in need as this humanitarian crisis unfolds. Eligible employees in the UK and the US can take advantage of the Paramount Matching Program, which we are working to expand to additional international regions (more information will follow shortly).

In addition, we are using our content and capabilities to help those in need, including the power of our global platforms to ensure the world bears witness to this tragedy, as well as to support humanitarian relief efforts. The courageous news teams at CBS News, Channel 5, Chilevision, Network 10, and Telefe have been reporting around the clock from on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Channel 5 recently aired a fundraising special, Ukraine: How YOU Can Help, in the UK. MTVE has initiated a global call to action across linear and social for audiences to donate funds to support relief efforts across several organizations, including World Central Kitchen, International Medical Corps, Save The Children, UN Refugee, UNICEF and more. Our Consumer Products team is donating toys, products, and funds to organizations that are supporting kids and families from Ukraine who are seeking refuge. 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.

As we pause our operations, we will continue to financially support our dedicated team in Moscow. I also ask everyone across the business to please be sensitive to the effect this crisis is having on colleagues across Europe, and particularly those who are Ukrainian, Russian, and in Eastern Europe.

We will provide additional updates as we have them.

Best,
Bob

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