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Ukrainian Community in Phl urges Netflix: Rethink ‘To Russia with Love (2022)’ Release

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The release of the movie “To Russia with Love (2022)” on Netflix in the Philippines has sparked deep concern within the Ukrainian community residing in the country.

In a petition lodged at change.org, the members of the Ukrainian community have expressed their worries about the cultural and social sensitivity of the film’s release, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian community in the Philippines has made three key requests in their letter to Netflix:

“1. Reconsider the release of ‘To Russia with Love (2022)’ in the Philippines, taking into account the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and its cultural and social sensitivity.

  1. Conduct a review of the content selection process to ensure that films do not inadvertently support or promote nations or states involved in actions contrary to international principles and values.
  2. Engage in a dialogue with the Ukrainian community in the Philippines to better understand our concerns and perspectives.”

The community believes that addressing these concerns will allow Netflix to demonstrate its commitment to promoting responsible content distribution and respecting the cultural sensitivities of its diverse global audience.

The community raised concerns about Netflix providing a platform for a movie that could inadvertently promote or glorify a nation involved in actions widely considered as acts of aggression.

“Ukraine, a nation with a rich culture, history, and landscape, has been adversely affected by the actions of Russia. We believe it is essential for global corporations like Netflix to exercise ethical responsibility when selecting content for distribution, ensuring that they do not inadvertently provide support to regimes or states involved in activities that contravene international norms and values,” they said.

They hope for a swift and positive response to their petition and remain open to constructive dialogue with Netflix representatives to find an amicable resolution to this matter.

Nevertheless, they acknowledge the significance of cinema as a platform for artistic expression and storytelling. However, they believe that “To Russia with Love (2022)” may present a misleading and insensitive narrative that downplays the gravity of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“It is disheartening to see such a film released in a time when our people are still enduring the hardships caused by this conflict,” they said.

The Ukrainian community in the Philippines, like its counterparts around the world, has been profoundly affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

“Our families, friends, and fellow Ukrainians continue to face the devastating consequences of this crisis, which includes the loss of lives and the displacement of countless innocent civilians. The conflict has torn apart families, shattered communities, and left a lasting scar on our beloved homeland,” they said in the letter.

“To Russia with Love (2022)” stars Gerald Anderson and Elena Kozlova and centers around the story of a devoted entrepreneur who wins the affections of a free-spirited traveler but must also win over her stern and disapproving father. While the movie offers a romantic narrative, it is the geopolitical context and potential insensitivity surrounding its release that have drawn the attention and concern of the Ukrainian community in the Philippines.

A petition on change.org wants the movie removed from Netflix (https://www.change.org/p/a-call-to-respect-cultural-sensitivity-remove-to-russia-with-love-2022-from-netflix-i).

As this issue gains traction, it remains to be seen how Netflix will respond to the appeal of the Ukrainian community and whether it will consider the cultural and social sensitivities surrounding the release of the movie in the Philippines in the context of the ongoing Ukrainian conflict.

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