BOARD OF DIRECTORS
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT
Michael D. Lissner
Ronald Elton Miles
Jaffe Linda Meltzer
Samuel J. Dubbin
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Masha Pearl
March 2, 2022
To whom it may concern:
We are writing to you on behalf of our Russian-speaking constituents and as advocates of Holocaust survivors. We were shocked to learn that Optimum TV’s Russian cable package includes channels such as Channel 1 Russia, NTV Russia, and RTR Planeta, among others that are known for disinformation campaigns and pro-Putin propaganda. These networks air shows and talk shows that downplay the Holocaust and attempt to cover up the former Soviet Union’s antisemitic practices by brainwashing their viewers.
We consider the airing of these networks to be outright support of the ideas that these channels purport, which, aside from being blatant lies, are harmful to the mental health and wellbeing of elderly Russian-speaking viewers, especially Holocaust survivors. There are still an estimated 65,000 Holocaust survivors in the US today, many of whom live in New York City and the majority of whom are native Russian speakers. The propaganda aired on these channels can trigger memories from the Holocaust experiences of antisemitism in the Soviet Union, often causing feelings of distress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms.
These survivors turn to Optimum TV as a means of information and entertainment, not to be bombarded with triggering lies and propaganda. We find it unacceptable to expose viewers to this content and ask that it be removed from Optimum TV packages immediately. We request that Channel 1 Russia, NTV Russia, and RTR Planeta either be removed from the Optimum Russia package or that the propaganda shows and talk shows on all channels be banned from the air. In their place, we invite you to air programming that provides accurate news and uplifts the stories of Holocaust survivors.
On behalf of Holocaust survivors in New York.
Elie Rubinstein President, The Blue Card
Vanessa L. Gibson, Bronx Borough President Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens Borough President
Leroy Comrie, NYS Senator Todd Kaminsky, NYS Senator Sean Ryan, NYS Senator Diane Savino, NYS Senator James Skoufis, NYS Senator Toby Stavisky, NYS Senator
Peter Abbate, NYS Assembly Member Brian Barnwell, NYS Assembly Member Didi Barrett, NYS Assembly Member Ed Braunstein, NYS Assembly Member
Steven Cymbrowitz, NYS Assembly Member Maritza Davila, NYS Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez, NYS Assembly Member Latoya Joyner, NYS Assembly Member
Charles Lavine, NYS Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato, NYS Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal, NYS Assembly Member Nily Rozic, NYS Assembly Member
David Weprin, NYS Assembly Member
Shaun Abreu, NYC Council Member Joe Borelli, NYC Council Member Eric Bottcher, NYC Council Member Justin Brannan, NYC Council Member Eric Dinowitz, NYC Council Member Jim Gennaro, NYC Council Member
Kamillah Hanks, NYC Council Member Rita Joseph, NYC Council Member
Ari Kagan, NYC Council Member Julie Menin, NYC Council Member Keith Powers, NYC Council Member Lynn Schulman, NYC Council Member
Marjorie Velazquez, NYC Council Member
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