Russia permanently banned nearly 1,000 American celebrities, political figures, and tech executives from entering the country, including Morgan Freeman, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced the ban in response to U.S. sanctions imposed on the country after invading Ukraine and others who have publicly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin. As a result, more than 963 people are now banned, USA Today reported.
“We emphasize that the hostile actions taken by Washington, which boomerang against the United States itself, will continue to receive a proper rebuff,” the ministry said in a statement. “Russian counter-sanctions are forced and aimed at forcing the ruling American regime, which is trying to impose a neo-colonial ‘rules-based world order’ on the rest of the world, to change its behavior, recognizing new geopolitical realities.”
“Russia does not seek confrontation and is open to honest, mutually respectful dialogue, separating the American people, who are always respected by us, from the U.S. authorities, who incite Russophobia, and those who serve them. It is these people who are included in the Russian “black list.”
Freeman was listed in the recent ban after participating in a two-minute video for Rob Reiner’s Committee to Investigate Russia, a nonprofit founded in 2017. In the introduction of the video, the Glory actor urged then-President Trump to admit that the Russian Government was involved in his election victory, per Hollywood Reporter.
“We need our president to speak directly to us and tell us the truth,” Freeman said in the YouTube video. “We need him to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office and say ‘My fellow Americans, during this past election, we came under attack by the Russian government.’”
The 84-year-old was classified as “a well-known film actor” on the ban list, claiming that he’s “accusing Russia of conspiring against the United States and calling for a fight against our country.”
While other notable political figures were added to the list, Trump, who established a close relationship with Putin, was absent. Barack Obama and George W. Bush were also not included.