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More than a year after it began its war in Ukraine, Russia is cracking down … on American late night TV hosts.
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, CBS’ Stephen Colbert and NBC’s Seth Meyers have been permanently banned from Russia, according to a new list of names released by the Russian government.
On Friday the Russian Foreign Ministry released a list of 500 Americans that it says are now banned from entering the country, with a statement declaring that the decision to ban them is in response to U.S. sanctions.
The list of names includes plenty of politicians (including former President Barack Obama) as well as academics, military and law enforcement officers, and employees or arms suppliers and tech firms. But it also includes a handful of people from the world of entertainment and media.
Chief among them are the three late night TV hosts (NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, for whatever reason, did not make the cut). Also on the list are CNN anchor Erin Burnett, MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Joe Scarborough, and former NBC News anchor Brian Williams.
In addition to Obama, President Biden’s longtime adviser (and media veteran) Anita Dunn was also banned, as was acting Voice of America chief Yolanda Lopez.
It is not entirely clear why the TV personalities were banned, though in a lengthy statement the Russian Foreign Ministry wrote that the list includes people “involved in the spread of Russophobic attitudes and fakes,” per Google Translate.
Last year, Russia banned Ben Stiller, Morgan Freeman and Sean Penn from the country in similarly vague circumstances (Stiller and Penn had recently visited Ukraine before they were banned).
The ministry also said that it had denied a U.S. consular visit for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, citing a U.S. government refusal to issue visas to Russian journalists that were to accompany Foreign Minister Lavrov to a U.N. meeting.
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