Cannes Lions has banned award submissions and delegations from Russian organizations for this year’s Festival of Creativity, in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ascential said in a statement, “together with our friends in Ukraine, and our many partners and community members in Russia who strongly oppose the actions of the Russian government.”
As well as opposing Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, Ascential is waiving entry fees for Ukraine creatives – “all” – who can attend this year’s event, which returns to the French Riviera on 20-24 June.
“Refunds on awards submissions for Ukraine agencies will also be honored,” the company said.
The organizer also said it would take “immediate action” and make a “significant donation to humanitarian charities working in the affected region.”
Ascential has set up a talent directory for members of the creative community affected by the war on the Lions platform, urging the global community to “commission and support our friends during these troubled times.”
At last year’s Cannes Lions festival, Russia had 401 award entries and Ukraine 48 entries for work from the previous two years. That followed the cancellation of the 2020 event because of the pandemic.
Ascential’s statement comes as an increasing number of organizations – spanning business, media, and sports – halt their associations with Russia.
To name a few, Twitter is stopping ads in Ukraine and Russia, while Meta and YouTube are demonetizing state-operated Russian news sites, including RT.
In sports, the International Olympic Committee has banned Russian and Belarus athletes, officials, and teams from participating in the Paralympics; Russian clubs have been suspended from all Fifa and Uefa competitions, meaning the Russian men’s team will no longer play in the World Cup play-off matches this month. In contrast, Spartak Moscow has been ejected from the Europa League.
The worlds of rugby, tennis, and Formula 1 have also implemented similar bans.