While you might not think of Kim Kardashian-West as a firebrand on social issues, the reality TV show star and Web celebrity does have some causes that are near and dear to her. One is so important she took out a full-page print ad in The New York Times to administer a good tongue-lashing about the controversy over the Armenian genocide.
Kardashian took exception to a full-page ad published in The Wall Street Journal by Fact Check Armenia back in April, denying that the Ottoman Empire’s actions against its Armenian population during the First World War constituted genocide. After first blasting the ad on her blog when it first came out, Kardashian, still fuming, returned to the attack with an NYT ad published on Saturday.
Most historians outside Turkey agree that the mass murder and deportation of the Armenians from 1915-1917, resulting in around 1.5 million deaths, was a deliberate attempt to wipe out an ethnic group and therefore qualifies as genocide.
However, the Turkish government denies this charge, claiming the mass murders were not officially sanctioned and the deportations were justified because some Armenians were helping the enemy (in this case, Russia). Nonetheless, numerous eyewitness accounts strongly suggest the murders were orchestrated by the Ottoman government.
For the NYT ad, Kardashian, who has Armenian ancestry, wrote an open letter to the WSJ under the headline “Genocide denial cannot be allowed,” warning that responsible newspapers must be careful about ads that present discredited opinions as fact. The letter reads, in part: “For The Wall Street Journal to publish something like this is reckless, upsetting and dangerous. It’s one thing when a crappy tabloid profits from a made-up scandal, but for a trusted publication like WSJ to profit from genocide — it’s shameful and unacceptable. Why is it that every time we take one step forward, we take two steps back?”
Kardashian also urged readers and politicians to continue pressing the U.S. government to officially recognize the Armenian genocide – something American officials have long refused to do out of fear of alienating Turkey, an important ally in Europe and the Middle East.
Newspaper ads (both in print and digital) remain popular ways of weighing in on controversial issues. Earlier this year, for example, the NFL ran prominent ads on The New York Times Web site in order to rebut the newspaper’s reporting on the league’s allegedly flawed research regarding concussions. The placements included banner and right rail ads inviting readers to click to visit pages presenting more detailed arguments against the NYT’s findings.