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Friday, October 07, 2022

How celebrities and film studios are responding to the Ukraine invasion

Meanwhile, SBS, home to various foreign language programs, suspended the broadcast of news bulletins NTV Moscow and Russia Today last week.

Musicians cancel shows

Several high-profile musicians and bands have canceled upcoming gigs in Moscow, as the industry declares solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have canceled upcoming shows in Moscow in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have canceled upcoming shows in Moscow in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Credit:Fiona Morris

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds have pulled out of their scheduled shows in Russia, while Iggy Pop, Franz Ferdinand, Green Day and The Killers have also announced their shows will no longer go ahead.

Eurovision takes a stand

Russia has also found itself ousted from the Eurovision Song Contest, with the European Broadcasting Union announcing on February 25 that Russia will not have an act in the competition. Russia last won Eurovision in 2008, with Dima Bilan singing Believeand has been one of the competition’s most consistent performers, with five top-five finishes in the past 10 years.

“The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year’s contest would bring the competition into disrepute,” the EBU said.

Russia's Dima Bilan won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008.

Russia’s Dima Bilan won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. Credit: Associated Press

The celebrities making a difference

Celebrity clicktivism, performative activism, call it what you will: when famous figures try to lend a hand during times of crisis, it can often feel half-baked. A slew of famous faces have expressed their dismay online from the moment the Russian invasion began, but only a few have managed to cut through the noise.

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds
The Hollywood power couple has teamed up with USA for UNHCR, a non-profit organization offering help on the ground in Ukraine. Taking to Instagram, Lively announced that the pair would “double every dollar donated to [USA for UNHCR] up to $1,000,000.”

Blake Lively, left, and Ryan Reynolds have used their star power on social media to help raise funds for the Ukrainian people.

Blake Lively, left, and Ryan Reynolds have used their star power on social media to help raise funds for the Ukrainian people.Credit: Associated Press

Bethenny Frankel
The businesswoman and reality star is putting her former Real Housewives co-stars to shame, raising millions of dollars in aid through her disaster relief charity BStrong. The funds will help refugees travel and will set up different stations along the Poland-Ukraine border to provide water and hygiene products.

Sean Penn
The Oscar winner has been on the ground in Ukraine, where he is filming a documentary with Vice Studios, Penn previously visited Ukraine in November 2021 to research the film but has since shifted focus to the Russian invasion, using his star power to shine a light on what is happening in real-time. Penn arrived in Kyiv last week and met with Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk before the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released a statement praising his work.

“Sean Penn especially came to Kyiv to record all the events that are currently happening in Ukraine and to tell the world the truth about Russia’s invasion of our country,” read the statement. “Sean Penn is among those who support Ukraine in Ukraine today. Our country is grateful to him for such a show of courage and honesty.”

Hollywood actor and producer Sean Penn in Donetsk region, Ukraine, in 2021.

Hollywood actor and producer Sean Penn in Donetsk region, Ukraine, in 2021. Credit: Associated Press

The celebrities making us cringe

Wrestler-cum-movie star John Cena used the invasion of Russia to advertise his latest HBO show, peacemakerin which he plays a man who “fights for peace at any cost, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it”.

John Cena’s tweet may have been tone-deaf, but it wasn’t quite as cringeworthy as the video released by American actress AnnaLynne McCord. Having learned nothing from Gal Gadot’s star-studded Imagine car crash, McCord took to Twitter to read a poem titled Dear Mr. President Vladimir Putin…

The poem goes for over two minutes and includes stanzas directed at the Russian President such as, “If I was your mother, you would have been so loved, held in the arms of joyous light.”

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