March 10, 2023
The Ukrainian World Congress appealed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences calling for the withdrawal of “Top Gun: Maverick,” a film funded by a sanctioned Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, from the 95th Academy Awards on March 12. Notably, the film, unlike its predecessor, does not name Russia as America’s enemy.
This is propaganda by omission and the movie should be scrapped.
“Dmitry Rybolovlev is said to have exercised ‘functional control’ over a production company that signed a $200 million deal in 2020 with the Hollywood giant Paramount Pictures to fund up to a quarter of the budget of ten films,” reported I-AML, Israeli Anti Money Laundering website. The deal also includes “bankrolling eagerly anticipated films such as ‘Coming 2 America’ and the ‘Mission: Impossible’ sequels.”
Any cultural projects controlled by sanctioned Russian influencers are unacceptable. Rybolovlev is a billionaire Russia oligarch who in 2005 paid a record price of $95 million to Donald Trump for a vacant Palm Beach property called Amitie and in 2011 paid $88 million, a record price for Manhattan residential property atop 15 Central Park West from former Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill. He is owner of Monaco’s football team, and made his fortune in fertilizer in Russia.
On March 7, the Ukrainian World Congress in an open letter called upon the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to:
- explicitly reject films with any direct or indirect investments by Russian oligarchs or other enablers of Russia’s genocidal war on Ukraine;
- review the eligibility of “Top Gun: Maverick” to participate at the 95th Academy Awards for that same reason; and
- issue a strong statement at this year’s award ceremony condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine and any attempts to influence Hollywood and American society.