RT America Ceases Production, Lays Off Staff

Russian state-sponsored RT America media outlet will cease productions and lay off nearly all its staff, according to a memo obtained by news outlets on March 3.

“As a result of unforeseen business interruption events, T&R Productions LLC will be ceasing production and, therefore, must lay off most of its staff who work at all its locations,” Misha Solodovnikov, the general manager of T&R Productions that operates RT America, wrote in the memo.

T&R Productions operated offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Solodovnikov added that the lay off will be permanent.

A person familiar with the matter told CNBC that the memo sent to over 100 employees said that their employment will end on May 3.

Solodovnikov held a brief in-person meeting on March 3 to inform staff that RT America — one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mouthpieces in the United States — was shutting down immediately.

“A lot of people were shocked. A lot of people were crying,” a person who attended the meeting told CNN.

The news came after DirecTV and Roku dropped RT America from their platforms, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“In line with our previous agreement with RT America, we are accelerating this year’s contract expiration timeline and will no longer offer their programming effective immediately,” DirecTV, a major television provider in the U.S., said in a statement, according to Axios.

Separately, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) urged broadcasters earlier this week to stop carrying Russian-sponsored programming amid the Russian attack.

“Given the unprovoked aggression exhibited by Russia against the free and sovereign people of Ukraine, NAB calls on broadcasters to cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents,” NAB said in a statement.

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