The American branch of Russian state-funded media network Russia Today (RT) is shutting down and laying off most of its staff, CNN reports.
According to a memo, RT America will be “ceasing production” due to “unforeseen business interruption events.”
“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,” the memo said, via CNN.
Per CNN, Misha Solodovnikov, the general manager of T&R Productions, the production company behind RT, delivered the news in person to hosts, correspondents, producers and others in the Washington, D.C. bureau. She said staff will be provided two months of paid severance.
T&R also had offices in New York, Miami and Los Angeles.
This news follows DirecTV’s announcement that it will drop RT America in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Funded by the Russian government, RT America launched in 2010 and has hosted shows featuring American entertainment figures including Larry King and Dennis Miller.
Earlier this week, the European Union announced it would ban Russian state media, with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok shutting down access to outlets including RT.
“The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, and their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
Twitter has not yet announced whether it will join the other social media platforms in blocking Russian-backed media, but the company announced on Monday that it would label tweets containing content from Russian-funded outlets such as RT and Sputnik.
Radio Sputnik, another state-funded Russian outlet, continues to operate its AM radio station in Washington, D.C.