'Cancel Culture' Forced US Firms to Exit Russia After Ukraine Invasion: CEO

American businessman Sanford Mann blamed the exit of U.S. firms from Russia on "cancel culture" during a Sunday appearance on Newsmax.

Mann, who is the CEO of American Hartford Gold, which is a precious metals supplier, appeared on the conservative network to discuss the stock market and rising inflation. However, the interview turned towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent exit of multitudinous American businesses from the country in response.

"We've seen cancel culture basically force a lot of U.S. companies, a lot of global companies, from ceasing doing business with Russia, but the implied risk of that is a lot of these companies, Russia is their fifth largest market," he said. "When you have a company that no longer services Russia, it's going to negatively impact their quarterly financials."

russia u.s. businesses cancel culture
During an appearance on far-right news outlet, Newsmax, U.S. CEO Sanford Mann blamed "cancel culture" for forcing American businesses out of Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Above, a shot of Russian police officers in Moscow. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. businesses of all sizes have been pulling its operations in Russia in the wake of the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. This has included some major heavyweights, including McDonald's, Starbucks, Nike, Netflix, Apple, Visa, Coca-Cola, and most major film distributors.

"Our values mean we cannot ignore the needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine," McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said in a statement on Tuesday to employees about the ongoing situation.

Mann argued that the termination of operations in Russia is "not a good long-term plan" for American businesses, despite prevailing domestic sentiments. "Unfortunately, a lot of these companies have been forced to cancel Russia when in fact, it's going to have a very negative effect."

In contrast to Mann's arguments, U.K. finance minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday argued that, while the decision might be painful for businesses, there is no sound reason for them to remain in Russia.

"I am urging asset owners and managers to think very carefully about any investment that would in any sense support Putin and his regime," Sunak said in a video posted to Twitter. "I want to make it crystal clear that if firms or investors decide that they need to end their financial relationship with Russia, then the government fully supports you."

Experts speaking with The Hill said Sunday that the sanctions are likely to last for some time and will have strong negative impacts on Russian society.

"It's pretty clear that Russia will become poorer and more technologically backward, the choices for its citizens will be radically diminished, and for many, many years to come," Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the outlet.

However, support for Russia has been prevalent among conservative figures and outlets, with the likes of Fox News' Tucker Carlson being accused of reciting Russian propaganda and North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a "thug." Mann's company also appears to cater strongly to right-wing consumers, with prominent endorsements from Bill O'Reilly and Rudy Giuliani listed on its website.

The CEO's comments on Newsmax echoed similar sentiments shared from conservative pundits that have drawn criticism online, with Washington Post columnist Max Boot calling out "cancel culture" as a "dumb trope" on Twitter.

"Can we please stop using 'cancel' and "Russia' in the same sentence (as in 'Russia is getting cancelled')," Boot tweeted on Thursday. "'Cancel culture' is a dumb trope in domestic policy. Don't let it infect foreign policy too."

Updated, 2:40 p.m., 3/13/2022: Added quote from U.K. finance minister.