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McDonald's, Starbucks, Coke, Pepsi join companies suspending business in Russia – CBC News

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McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the latest multinational companies to announce they’re pausing business operations in Russia to protest the country’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Over the past several days, the U.S.-based brands have faced mounting pressure on social media to cut ties with Russia due to their large footprint in the country.

On Tuesday, McDonald’s announced in a statement that it will temporarily close its more than 800 restaurants and pause all operations in Russia. The fast food chain said it will continue to pay salaries of the 62,000 Russian employees who will be affected by the closure.

“The conflict in Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Europe has caused unspeakable suffering to innocent people,” said CEO Chris Kempczinski. “We join the world in condemning aggression and violence and praying for peace.”

Starubcks announced Tuesday it will close all stores and suspend business operations in Russia. (Starbucks/Nicholas Matthews Photography)

Starbucks initially denounced Russia’s attack of Ukraine, but made no move to shutter its 130 stores in the country that are owned and operated by a licensed partner.

However, on Tuesday, a few hours after McDonalds’ announcement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson stated online that the coffee chain will suspend all business operations in Russia. 

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo were initially silent about their plans, but both made surprise statements late Tuesday afternoon. Coca-Cola announced it would suspend all operations in Russia, while PepsiCo said it would stop making a number of products. 

“Given the horrific events occurring in Ukraine we are announcing the suspension of the sale of Pepsi-Cola, and our global beverage brands in Russia,” said PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta in a statement

He said the company will continue manufacturing other products, including essentials such as milk, baby formula and baby food. 

PepsiCo, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola join more than 200 companies that have curtailed their Russian operations, according to a report by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a management professor at Yale University.

Those companies include Ikea, Apple, H&M, Canada Goose, Visa and Mastercard

Canadian companies, convenience store chain Couche-Tard, and e-commerce platform Shopify also announced this week that they’re suspending business dealings in Russia. 

Companies still in Russia

Sonnenfeld has identified more than 20 companies that still have “significant exposure” in Russia. A number of those businesses, such as Burger King and KFC, have now become targets on social media where they face calls for boycotts.

McDonald’s, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo were also a target, but the backlash they have faced should now come to an end as they halt operations in the country. 

Sherry Zak of Halifax is calling on multinational companies to stop doing business in Russia. (submitted by Sherry Zak)

Sherry Zak of Halifax said she has reached out to several targeted companies on social media and sometimes by personal email to demand they pull out of Russia. 

Zak, who is of Ukrainian descent, said she felt she had to take action to protest Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“My husband and I were watching the news with tears in our eyes,” she said. “It’s just heartbreaking. We’re just trying to make a change, make some change, make it stop.”

Companies respond

When asked about their positions in Russia, both Burger King and KFC told CBC News they don’t directly own their Russian locations and have donated money to help support humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine. 

Burger King’s owner, Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International (RBI), said it has 800 Burger Kings in Russia, each owned and operated by local franchisees.

“We support the sanctions [targeting Russia] that have been put in place by the U.S., E.U., Canada and other countries and will insist that our franchisees in Russia abide by those as well,” said RBI spokesperson, Leslie Walsh, in an email.

U.S.-based Yum! Brands, which owns KFC said that almost all its approximately 1,000 KFC restaurants in Russia are operated by independent owners under license or franchise agreements.

The company said it has suspended all investment and restaurant development in Russia and will redirect all profits from its Russian operations to relief efforts in Ukraine.

WATCH | Oil prices soar due to to conflict in Ukraine: 

Oil prices soar due to to conflict in Ukraine

1 day ago

Duration 1:42:04

March 7, 2022 – Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews discuss the high cost of gasoline for consumers. Plus, former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton talks about whether a U.S. ban on Russian oil would thwart President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 1:42:04

But business professor Ian Lee said companies keeping any ties with Russia right now will continue to be judged harshly by people around the world. 

“They cannot be associated in any way, shape, or form with the Russian regime, and that’s why they’ve got to leave,” said Lee, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. 

“Those Western companies that remain are committing — are making an enormous strategic mistake, because they will be seen increasingly in the court of public opinion to be completely insensitive.”

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Social Media Increasingly Linked With Mass Shootings – Forbes

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On Wednesday, authorities in Texas identified Salvador Ramos as the 18-year-old shooter who had opened fire in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos, who had killed at least 19 students and two teachers during his shooting spree on Tuesday, had allegedly posted disturbing images online prior to carrying out the senseless attack.

According to reports, an Instagram account allegedly connected to Ramos featured disturbing photos. That account has since been taken down.

It was just last week that New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, announced that her office was investigating social media companies after another mass shooter had used the online platforms to plan, promote and stream a massacre in a Buffalo grocery store that left 10 dead. James said her office would investigate Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord along with other platforms that the shooter used to amplify the attack.

Many are asking if warning signs were missed.

“It is impossible to prevent people from making threats online,” explained William V. Pelfrey, Jr., Ph.D., professor in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Yet he suggested that social media organizations do have a moral responsibility to identify and remove threatening messaging.

“They are generally abysmal at this task. Direct threats (i.e. I want to shoot the President, I want to kill myself) frequently are flagged and investigated. Indirect threats are much harder to identify and rarely receive any attention,” Pelfrey continued. “Many social media companies will need to make decisions – protect individual’s rights to make oblique threats or protect safety. Compromising freedom of speech seems abhorrent until we weigh that compromise against the lives lost in Buffalo or the many other places where radicalized violent extremists found their motivation to kill.”

The Anti-Social Networks

As the United States remains very much in what President Joe Biden has identified as an “Uncivil War,” where the country remains so politically divided, the platforms that were once about friendly discussions have evolved very much into “anti-social networks” where people now find themselves in echo chambers that support their opinion and views.

“Social media has compounded a growing racial, cultural and gender divide in America and the world,” explained Anthony Silard, professor at the Luiss Business School, Rome, and the author of The Art of Living Free in the Digital Age.

Social media has enabled the actions of extremists to be live-streamed to the masses.

“One facet of the Buffalo shooting that is critical for understanding its conception and operation is that it was not the work of one person,” added Silard. “The shooter brought his thought community with him via live stream. They were poised and ready to send out the horrific imagery of innocent people being slaughtered before the social media site, Twitch, could take it down, in an impressive two minutes. They succeeded, yet millions watched from the comfort of their screens.

“With his thought community virtually present and at the ready, the shooter felt less alone and propped up by the hate-imbued ideology of his group,” Silard added. “Herein lies an important point for lawmakers to consider about the role of social media in this tragedy: it enabled rapid, collective action by a hate group.”

Lack Of Empathy

Social media has also been seen as responsible in lowering the empathy of most Americans. It is easy to “speak your mind” about someone on social media based on a tweet they made or something they posted on Facebook. Even like-minded individuals with similar interests can find themselves in serious flare ups that turn hostile.

This has been common with email, posts on Newsgroups and online forums, but has increased significantly in the era of social media.

“One of the primary reasons social media has become so dangerous to a healthy society is that it erodes empathy. The reason town hall meetings became a healthy medium for cross-aisle conversations is that people had to listen to each other, even when they disagreed,” said Silard.”Now that these conversations have gone online, empathy has fallen to the wayside. A recent meta-analysis of seventy-two studies conducted between 1979 and 2009, for instance, found that the empathy levels of American college students have dropped 40 percent, which the authors primarily attribute to the rise of social media.”

The social media platforms have largely failed to address the issue, and in some cases it has only served to radicalize individuals, such as the recent mass shooters.

“Social media companies like Facebook promised us that its services would encourage people to care more for each other and express their authentic views more both online and in person. None of this has happened,” warned Silard. “Instead, recent Pew research has found that people speak up less in person now for fear of retribution. Why? Social media has helped them realize there are many opposing views out there they would prefer not to confront.”

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Media Advisory: Premier Furey to Announce Additional Measures to Help Residents with the Cost of Living – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

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The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Siobhan Coady, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister Responsible for Labour, will announce additional measures today (Thursday, May 26) to help Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the cost of living. The event takes place at 1:00 p.m. in the Media Centre, East Block, Confederation Building.

The announcement will be livestreamed on Facebook.

– 30 –

Media contacts
Meghan McCabe
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
meghanmccabe@gov.nl.ca

Victoria Barbour
Finance
709-729-4087, 327-6152
victoriabarbour@gov.nl.ca

Lynn Robinson
Environment and Climate Change
709-729-5449, 691-9466
lynnrobinson@gov.nl.ca

2022 05 26
11:10 am

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Ideon Media announces exclusive Canadian partnership with VICE Media Group – GlobeNewswire

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TORONTO, May 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ideon Media announced today it will serve as the exclusive ad sales and branded content development partner for VICE Media Group (VMG), the world’s largest independent youth media group, in Canada. VMG digital properties, which include VICE.com, and Refinery29.com, reach a combined 13.3 million unique visitors in Canada per month across all platforms (GAR, GWL, Comscore, VICE Census).

The new partnership will see Ideon Media exclusively represent the commercial activity of  VICE.com and Refinery29.com in Canada to brands and advertisers. This includes the sale of media advertising and sponsorships, production of branded content as well as affiliate advertising and commissions.

“VICE leaves an indelible mark on the public discourse, with impressive in-depth reporting and authentic storytelling that resonates worldwide. We’re so proud to represent VICE in Canada, and so flattered that Ideon has been given full latitude to help Canadian advertisers tell their stories on platforms like VICE and Refinery29 using Canadian talent and creators,” said Kevin Bartus, Ideon Media President and CEO.

“VICE is a true Canadian media success story, and has always been the gold standard for integrated campaigns targeting the youth demographic, and I am thrilled to be working with the company again. From best-in-class branded content, to incredible brand-sponsored events, and even cutting-edge proprietary digital ad products; VICE and Refinery29 allow brands to reach a huge Canadian audience of highly influential Gen-Z and Millennial young people in authentic and meaningful ways,” said Shawn Phelan, Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Ideon Media.

“I am delighted to be partnering with Kevin, Shawn and the team at Ideon in Canada to drive future growth across our publishing business. Our shared passion for the VICE brands, storytelling, breakthrough content solutions and our audiences will allow us to realise our ambitious growth targets in the market and to forge new opportunities with brands and advertisers,” said Luke Barnes, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Digital Officer, EMEA, VICE Media Group.

ABOUT VICE MEDIA GROUP
VICE Media Group is the world’s largest independent youth media company. Launched in 1994, VICE has offices across 25 countries across the globe with a focus on five key businesses: VICE.com, an award-winning international network of digital content; VICE STUDIOS, a feature film and television production studio; VICE TV, an Emmy-winning international television network; a Peabody award winning NEWS division with the most Emmy-awarded nightly news broadcast; and VIRTUE, a global, full-service creative agency. VICE Media Group’s portfolio includes Refinery29, the leading global media and entertainment company focused on women; PULSE Films, a London-based next-generation production studio with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Berlin; and i-D, a global digital and bimonthly magazine defining fashion and contemporary culture and design.

ABOUT IDEON MEDIA (www.ideonmedia.com)
Ideon Media is a Toronto-based digital firm that offers a wide spectrum of advertiser solutions with best-in-class publisher representation and wholly owned and operated sites, including SavvyMom.ca and 29Secrets.com. Ideon specializes in custom content programs created by our award-winning in-house editorial team, influencer programs, events, performance network, proprietary data, and analytics. Ideon Media reaches a combined total of 18.6 million Canadians (Comscore, March 2022).

For more information or interview requests: Shawn Phelan at shawn.phelan@ideonmedia.com

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