Genocide denial posters reach Little Armenia

By Asbarez | Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Genocide denial poster on Hollywood Boulevard in Little Armenia (Submitted by reader)

The Genocide denial poster on Hollywood Boulevard in Little Armenia

LOS ANGELES—Posters, which depict Armenian Genocide denial images and messages have found their way to the Little Armenia neighborhood of Hollywood on Friday in what appears to be a guerrilla campaign by the same group that sponsored denialist billboards in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, which have since been removed.

The graphic, which lists the address for a website called “Fact Check Armenia” and the words “Truth = Peace,” features a hand—with the Turkish flag—making a peace sign, and two other hands with crossed fingers draped in the colors of the Armenian and Russian flags.

The group has deployed a different outdoor advertising tactic in Los Angeles, by plastering what are known as “wild postings,” most commonly used to advertise upcoming films. Throughout the day passersby have been removing the posters.

Asbarez contacted several such companies, all of which were quick to clarify that they were not involved the wild postings, the first of which appeared Wednesday in Silver Lake, prompting the Asbarez investigation.

A newspaper advertisement

A newspaper advertisement

One company that engages in outdoor advertising in the LA market, PosterGiant, repeatedly has not returned Asbarez’s calls since Tuesday, when a reader alerted the editors to the postings in Silver Lake. However, soon after Asbarez contacted PosterGiant on Tuesday, the poster was removed.

The same controversial image appeared nearly two weeks ago in Boston’s North End neighborhood—a few blocks from the Armenian Heritage Park—on a billboard. The Clear Channel outdoor advertising company immediately removed the billboards, which also appeared in Chicago and San Francisco, reported The Armenian Weekly.

This week, advertisements featuring the same graphics used on the billboard appeared in various newspapers across the United States, including the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The print newspaper ad in the Wall Street Journal has received the most condemnation, Huffington Post, Gawker and other criticizing the venerable business newspaper for publishing the ad. Others also ridiculed the group and the entire Turkish denial effort, as a futile exercise of money ill spent.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian on Friday introduced a motion urging all Los Angeles City departments to cancel subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal and other publication that print ads denying the Armenian Genocide.

In a Facebook post on April 20, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) shared an image of one of the newspaper ads with the following caption: “This Armenian Genocide denial ad—published in newspapers nationwide—is ‘Proudly Paid for by Turkic Platform, Istanbul,’ a foreign interest seeking to export Turkey’s hateful anti-Armenian/Christian campaign to hometowns across America—via billboards, newspapers, and online ads.”

“101 Years of GenoLies” reads a skywriting over Manhattan.

The ANCA urged the greater Armenian community to reach out to local newspapers that have included the ad and call for their removal. “Our activism stopped these billboards in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Do your part: 1) Check to see if this ad is in your local newspapers. If it is, email then call your newspaper and say: ‘Stop profiting from genocide denial’,” read the ANCA Facebook post.

On Thursday, several news outlets and social media users reported skywriting over Manhattan, of slogans in Turkish and English, including “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk” in Turkish, a phrase coined by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk; “Turkey = Truth”; and several slogans denying the Armenian Genocide.  The “Fact Check Armenia” url was also displayed by the skywriter.

A young dance group donning t-shirts of the Turkish flag and the phrase “Truth = Peace” performing in Brooklyn (Photo: Anadolu)

A young dance group donning t-shirts of the Turkish flag and the phrase “Truth = Peace” performing in Brooklyn (Photo: Anadolu)

According to Fact Check Armenia’s website, the group is “dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information to the world about the events that led up to and during 1915. It provides historical data on the Armenian uprisings that gave way to the Ottoman Turks’ actions and counters Armenian misinformation.”

In an article titled, “GEICO-Sponsored Company Put a Sky Message Above NYC Denying Turkey’s Genocide of Armenians,” Vice News reported that the company responsible for writing the sky messages is GEICO Skytypers, an air show team sponsored by the insurance company GEICO, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway—the holding company for Warren Buffett.

A young dance group donning t-shirts of the Turkish flag and the phrase “Truth = Peace” and hired by the U.S.-based Turkish Institute for Progress performed at a Turkish festival in Brooklyn while the plane wrote the messages in the sky, reported the Daily Mail.