Netflix Suspends Service in Russia as Amex, 2 Top Accounting Firms Cut Business Ties

Netflix Suspends Service in Russia as Amex, 2 Top Accounting Firms Cut Business Ties
In this photo illustration a computer and a mobile phone screen display the Netflix logo in Arlington, Virginia, on March 31, 2020. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

Netflix has suspended its service in Russia amid the Moscow-led invasion of Ukraine, a company spokesperson has confirmed.

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” Netflix spokesperson Emily Feingold said in a statement to The Verge.

The American subscription streaming platform, which launched its service in Russia in October 2020, did not elaborate further on its decision.

The Epoch Times has contacted a Netflix spokesperson for comment.

California-headquartered Netflix last week joined a string of major tech companies that have recently blocked content from Russia, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft, when it confirmed it will not add 20 free-to-air Russian TV channels to its platform.

“Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesman said in a statement on Feb. 28, referring to the Moscow-led invasion of Ukraine.

However, the streaming service could be obligated to carry out under Russian law, according to Politico, which reported that Netflix would fall under the new Russian regulations requiring compliance from March.

Those regulations require audiovisual services with more than 100,000 subscribers in that country to distribute 20 free-to-air news, sports, and entertainment channels. The regulations are overseen by Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor.

Elsewhere on Sunday, top accounting firms KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and financial services firm American Express followed suit in cutting ties with Russia amid the escalating conflict in neighboring Ukraine.

American Express said it is suspending its services in Russia and neighboring Belarus.

In a memo, company chairman and CEO Stephen J. Squeri said, “In light of Russia’s ongoing, unjustified attack on the people of Ukraine, American Express is suspending all operations in Russia.”

“Globally issued American Express cards will no longer work at merchants or ATMs in Russia. Additionally, cards issued locally in Russia by Russian banks will no longer work outside of the country on the American Express global network,” Squeri said in a statement.

The company also pledged $1 million to support aid organizations in Ukraine and neighboring countries that have been affected by Russia’s invasion and said it would match donations made through the American Express Match program.

KPMG and auditing and consultancy giant PwC also said on Sunday they will no longer have a member firm in Russia due to the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, PwC said “PwC Russia will leave the network” and the business would also help support its 3,700 colleagues in Russia and undertake an “orderly transition” for the Russian business.

“Our main focus at PwC continues to be doing all we can to help our Ukrainian colleagues and support the humanitarian efforts to aid the people of Ukraine who have been devastated by this invasion,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, KPMG said its Russian and Belarusian firms would leave its network and that it would provide “transitional support” for former colleagues who are impacted by the decision.

“KPMG has over 4,500 people in Russia and Belarus, and ending our working relationship with them, many of whom have been a part of KPMG for many decades, is incredibly difficult,” the business said in a series of Twitter posts. “This decision is not about them—it is a consequence of the actions of the Russian government.”
Chinese-owned video app TikTok also announced it would suspend live-streaming and the uploading of videos to its platform in Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed a law that will criminalize anyone sharing “deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel in Ukraine.”

Under the new law, “unofficial” reporting on the invasion is a crime that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

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