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Netflix’s Reed Hastings Donates $1 Million to Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund

The Netflix co-founder and co-CEO thanked director Evgeny Afineevsky for connecting him with nonprofit organization Razom for Ukraine.

Reed Hastings, co-founder and CEO of Netflix, attends a meeting with France's President Emmanuel Macron during the "Choose France" summit, at the Chateau de Versailles, outside Paris, France, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020. (Benoit Tessier, pool via AP)

Reed Hastings

AP

Amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Netflix co-founder, chairman, and co-CEO Reed Hastings announced a $1 million donation to Razom for Ukraine, a non-profit emergency relief organization to aid civilians.

“$1m donation on the way for emergency relief to Razom, thanks to @evgeny_director,” Hastings tweeted March 2, crediting “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” director Evgeny Afineevsky for connecting him with the foundation. “Every dollar helps.”

Netflix also announced that it would pause all productions and acquisitions out of Russia in the wake of its military attacks on Ukraine. Netflix reportedly had four Russian original projects in the works, including its first original series filmed in Russia, neo-noir mystery series “ZATO.”

Russian-born, Israeli-American filmmaker Afineevsky directed Netflix’s 2015 Oscar-nominated documentary “Winter on Fire,” capturing the unrest in Ukraine as student demonstrations supporting European integration led to calls for the resignation of President Viktor F. Yanukovich.

“I wish Netflix would relaunch a campaign for the film,” Afineevsky told IndieWire during a recent interview. “The great lesson we see with ‘Winter on Fire’ is that Ukraine can stand for their beliefs and unite against their enemies.” (Since the interview, “Winter on Fire” has been featured among the streamer’s homepage curation in the U.S.)

Afineevsky continued, “What we see in the movie is that they were able to achieve change within their government when they are united. If Putin allows Ukraine to win this situation and the U.S. still supports them, that’s a bad sign for his presidency. It means this can happen to him as well.”

Afineevsky declared he is against the war, adding, “I think this war is designed to divert attention from Russia’s problems, and it will only lead to greater impoverishment…Putin can’t win their hearts, but he is trying to find a way to acquire the land back. He cares about land, not people.”

The organization that Afineevsky connected Hastings with, Razom for Ukraine, describes itself as “a non-profit supporting Ukrainian people in their pursuit of democracy with dignity, justice, and human rights” per its Twitter page.

Proceeds will benefit a “trusted corridor from the U.S. to Ukraine for the delivery of life-saving supplies,” the charity tweeted. “The channel connects two warehouses in Poland and Ukraine, from which supplies can then be delivered further.”

Razom for Ukraine retweeted Hastings’ announcement with a photo of Afineevsky, captioning, “This is Razom with @evgeny_director what feels like ages ago. But this picture also represents a great friendship that has sustained throughout the years, and until now, when we’re so glad to have Evgeny on our side. Thank you.”

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