Disney worries that U.S. sanctions against Russia will hurt its profits, according to accusations

mickey ukraine
Credit: Canva Creation

Over the last several days, Russia has launched an attack on the people of Ukraine by air, sea, and land, leaving in its wake death, injury, displacement, and destruction. Ukraine, a European democracy that boasts 44 million citizens, is the second-largest country in Europe. Regardless, this is no fair fight.

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During an early morning televised address last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia could no longer feel “safe, develop and exist” because of an ever-present threat from its neighbor to the southeast, Ukraine. Putin called for airports and military headquarters to be attacked first, after which troops moved into Ukraine from Russia, from Crimea, and from Belarus.

Ukraine conflict: UK to impose sanctions on Russia's President Putin - BBC News

Credit: BBC

According to BBC, Putin’s many claims are either false or irrational.

“[Putin] claimed his goal was to protect people subjected to bullying and genocide and aim for the ‘demilitarisation and de-Nazification’ of Ukraine,” a post at BBC.com reads. “There has been no genocide in Ukraine: it is a vibrant democracy, led by a president who is Jewish.”

russia ukraine borders

Credit: BBC.com

Credit: BBC.com

But as the invasion continues and Russian troops press on toward the capital city of Kyiv, tensions and fears are building among some in the United States as many are divided in their opinions about how President Biden should have/could have responded.

Americans are being encouraged to boycott Russian-made products, and the United States, among others, has brought tough sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and its continual attacks on the Ukrainian people. Many Americans agree with these measures, but Disney reportedly has concerns over those sanctions, according to at least one online journalist at TechDirt.com.

In his post, Mike Masnick includes a tweet from James Love, who says that the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is seeking sanctions against Ukraine. Actually, he is referring to a report issued on January 31, 2022, that places certain countries on “watch lists” as it pertains to copyrights and piracy.

But Love goes on to say that Disney is concerned about such sanctions. He tweeted further, saying “Disney [is] warning U.S. sanctions against Russia will harm licensing revenues to U.S. copyright holders.” In a successive tweet, Love includes a photo of a letter signed by Peter Jansson, Senior Manager with the Disney Music Group:


In Masnick’s post at TechDirt.com dated February 28, 2022, Masnick says that the Disney Music Group letter, which was sent to people on an e-mail mailing list, is full of concerning content, and that’s putting it lightly. At one point, Masnick writes, “it sure feels like in today’s world, Disney and the like would prefer oppression and profits to supporting freedom.”

“Disney wants you to remember the real tragedy happening here: how this invasion might negatively impact its profits,” Masnick writes, insisting that Disney’s real concern is for its profits over the tragedy happening to the people of Ukraine at the hands of the Russian army.

But late this afternoon, Disney released a statement, condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including ‘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.”

Pixar's 'Turning Red' Marks Studio's Third Straight-to-Streaming Film – The Hollywood Reporter

Credit: PIXAR Animation Studios

Not only does Disney share its sympathy with those affected by the “unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine, but The Walt Disney Company is already working in a humanitarian effort to assist Ukrainian refugees. The letter above reads more like a sharing of information, letting others know that growth in this area of business in Russia and in Ukraine may very well stop during this season, (Who would expect otherwise?) not a pandering for sympathy because of Disney’s upcoming “quarter of doom,” thanks to a potential for profits lost because of the invasion.

In his post, Masnick asks readers (with sarcasm dripping from every word he types) to consider the real victims of the Ukraine attacks:

“As you think of the struggle of the people of Ukraine this week, don’t forget to share some sympathy for the Mouse’s ‘big blow’ to its profits.”

ukraine invasion mickey mouse

Credit: Canva Creation

But Masnick’s accusations just don’t line up. If Disney were more concerned with profits than in helping its fellow man in a time of crisis such as this, why would the entertainment giant pull its upcoming releases in Russia–and be the first movie house to do so? Pretty sure pulling theatrical releases will hurt profits, and Disney was the one to make the first move, Mr. Masnick.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the people of Ukraine and all those affected during these very troubling and uncertain times.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!