RT America shuts down under pressure about coverage of the Russia-Ukraine invasion

RT America, an offshoot of Russia Today and a Russian state-funded media outlet, has shuttered its doors as tensions in Eastern Europe heighten with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

According to Fox News, the operations of the media giant’s North American affiliate have been cut off altogether, something that journalists at several publications, including CNN, have been calling for. 

“An employee for RT America told Fox News that she and approximately 120 other staffers, who were described as Americans, were informed in a meeting on Thursday that operations were shutting down at the network’s Washington D.C. headquarters as well as the New York, Los Angeles, and Miami bureaus,” Fox News reported. “The staffer said employees were given severance packages.

RT has been under fire since the start of the division of the countries of the world over the conflict in Europe, including DirecTV’s announcement that it was removing RT America from its programming.

“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,” according to Axios.

Additionally, Spotify has also removed RT-linked podcasts from its platform, adding to the situation that prompted a memo from T&R Productions, the production company behind RT America where they informed staff about mass layoffs.

“As a result of unforeseen business interruption events, T&R Productions, LLC (‘T&R’) will be ceasing production and, therefore must lay off most of its staff who work at all of its locations,” T&R general manager Misha Solodovnikov wrote in the memo obtained by CNN.

“Unfortunately, we anticipate this layoff will be permanent, meaning that this will result in the permanent separation from employment of most T&R employees at all locations.”

“We deeply regret and understand the uncertainty this action will cause our valued employees. We very much appreciate your contributions and dedication to your jobs during this difficult period, and will keep you apprised of ongoing developments,” Solodovnikov told staff.