Jared Leto’s words of support to protestors in the Ukraine, made during his Best Supporting Actor acceptance speech at the Oscars, were cut from the Russian telecast of the ceremony, as tensions between the two nations continue to escalate.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson for Russia’s state-run Channel One admitted that portions of Leto’s speech did not appear in its broadcast, but denied that it was responsible for censoring his remarks.
“The channel aired a 90-minute international version of the Oscar ceremony, which was not to be cut and was provided by the rights holder,” Larisa Krymova, a Channel One rep, told the Reporter.
During his acceptance speech for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club,” Leto made mention of anti-government protestors in both Ukraine and Venezuela, saying: “To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight … I want to say we are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.”
Those remarks came after three months of fervent and frequently violent protests by young Ukrainians demanding the ouster of the country’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, whom they saw as corrupt and loyal to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Last month, Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, a move that Putin has called “an anti-constitutional coup.”
In recent days, soldiers wearing uniforms without insignias — widely reported to be from Russia — have taken up position in Ukraine’s Crimea region, and Putin has showed no signs of backing down, which has not only heightened tensions, but brought the incident to the international stage.
Perhaps acknowledging that, in the days leading up to the Oscars, Channel One canceled its previously scheduled live broadcast of the ceremony, saying it was necessary to focus more of its resources on the unfolding crisis in the Ukraine.