Ever since Russian forces began their full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, rumors filled social media feeds supposedly detailing people or entities' responses to the humanitarian crisis.
Below is a breakdown of rumors about how some organizations or celebrities have supposedly reacted to the war. From the United Nations to Pornhub to Leonardo DiCaprio, the subjects of the below-listed claims' range greatly — and so do their levels of truthfulness. They are ranked in no particular order.
[See also from The Associated Press: McDonald's, Starbucks, Coke, Pepsi Join Exodus out of Russia]
✅ / ❌ Mixture. While it was true that a branch of the U.N. (the Regional Information Centre for Western Europe at the Department of Global Communications) indeed advised staff to avoid using the word "war," in reference to the Russian attack on Ukraine, the U.N. as an entity says it did not officially or publicly ban the use of the word.
❌ No. According to this social media rumor, Russian users who attempted to access Pornhub were blocked from its content and instead shown the Ukrainian flag. However, a spokesperson for Pornhub told us: “This is completely false. We have not blocked anyone from Russia.”
❌ False. Several Facebook posts, dated late February and early March 2022, contained versions of this bogus claim: that former U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the "U.S. has not registered the borders of Ukraine as a sovereign state." In reality, Ukraine is indeed an independent nation-state, and has been universally recognized as such since 1991.
❌ Nope. Neither DiCaprio nor the International Visegrad Fund (IVF), an international donor organization, have made any announcements about this alleged donation. Also, this popular internet rumor can’t be traced back to a reputable news source.
✅ Sure did. On March 1, 2022, Alex Konanykhin, a Russian entrepreneur currently living in the United States, posted the below-displayed message. Facebook reportedly removed the post due to the "Dead or Alive" poster, and many onlookers referred to the message as a "bounty on Putin's head." In response, Konanykhin posted a new iteration of the message (Sans the "Dead or Alive" poster) in which he explained that he was not promising to pay for Putin's assassination. Rather, he stressed he would pay pay $1 million "to the officer(s) who, complying with their constitutional duty, arrest(s) Putin as a war criminal under Russian and international laws."
✅ Yep. On the March 1, 2022, episode of “Jesse Watters Primetime,” guest Monica Crowley said: "Look, Russia is now being canceled, right? I mean, between the fierce Ukrainian resistance and the widespread international financial sanctions and boycotts and Russian teams being barred from international competitions. Russia is being canceled."
❌ Not quite. "Anastasia" was indeed removed from Disney+ in February 2022. However, the movie was removed for contractual reasons, not political ones, as the film was simply being moved to a different streaming service, the Starz movie channel.
Let us note here: The claims below about organizations announcing their own forms of "sanctions" against Russia were indeed true:
- YouTube and Netflix say they will not carry content from Russian state-backed television networks, such as RT and Sputnik.
- Warner Bros., the Walt Disney Company, and Sony Pictures say they will not be releasing their summer movies in Russia, according to The Associated Press.
- Apple has "paused all product sales" in Russia and prohibited apps for Russian state news outlets from being downloaded on its app store.
- Airbnb has suspended all operations in Russia and Belarus.
- The International Ice Hockey Federation, as well as FIFA and the UEFA, are prohibiting Russian teams from all upcoming events.
- The Eurovision Broadcast Union is banning Russia from competing in the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest.
- EA Games says it is removing the Russian and Belarusian teams from its FIFA 22 and NHL 22 games.
— Snopes writers contributed to this report.
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