Monday, 6 December 2010

Outrage as Armenia Fund Telethon promotes homophobia

UPDATE 29 April 2011: VO.X frontrunner Aram Rian has re-edited and replaced the controversial portion of the band’s "I Love Armenia" music video, by removing the reference to homosexuality as “perversion”. We have reached a mutual understanding with the group and consider this matter resolved as dialogue has taken place. We no longer have reason to believe either Aram Rian or VO.X is homophobic, and we wish them success in their future endeavors.
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UPDATE 7 December 2010: Contrary to Twitter and Facebook reactions, the Executive Director of Armenia Fund, Inc. and the Executive in Charge of Production for Telethon 2010, officially denied that VO.X music video was aired during the Telethon 2010: "My name is Sarkis Kotanjian, I am the Executive Director of Armenia Fund, Inc. and the Executive in Charge of Production for Telethon 2010. Officially, I hereby state that no VO.X music video aired on Armenia Fund's Telethon 2010. Please stop this nonsense once and for all." (see comments section below).
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The idea of fundraising for a good cause that unites Armenians all over the world is a good one and difficult to resist. However, over time, there have been growing questions whether the Armenia Fund (http://himnadram.org and http://www.armeniafund.org), or “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund, is serving its purpose in its current format, citing corruption and state of human rights in Armenia, you name it... (e.g. see here)

And now, as if all the above were not enough, one more concern has been added to the list.

This year the Fund’s Telethon became infamous for all the wrong reasons by featuring homophobic music video of the Armenian band VO.X.

I am not going to repeat what I have already said about VO.X (here and here). There are reasons why this band entered the Armenia Homophobia Hall of Shame:

Homophobic music video by Armenian band VO.X disguised under "progressive ideas"

Armenian music band VO.X on PR defensive to 'justify' homophobia

Number of Facebook and Twitter users expressed their outrage re the promotion of homophobia during the Fund’s Telethon, with calls for boycott.
@geoy:
@unzippedblog As a gay man I was donating year after year to #Armenia Fund. The homophobic song during telethon show outraged me. It's over!

@mmkarmenia:
no cent to #ArmeniaFund if they want to create this kind of a Armenia youtube.com/watch?v=5j8vf1…#homophobia #HateSpeech

@tzitzernak:
Wow -Not surprised some #armeniafund folks are homophobic, but how on earth did the video get approved??? @unzippedblog
Armenia Fund must set the record straight once and for all, and clearly distance themselves from the homophobia displayed during the Telethon. They must ensure that similar incidents won’t happen again, and those responsible for choosing this band held accountable. Otherwise, they risk further antagonising (if not already) a significant proportion of Armenians from the Fund.

Until then, there is no way I could support the Armenia Fund. I call others to refrain from supporting it too.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

are you out of your mind? armenia fund never aired the vo.x music video yes im anush hayastani during its telethon. where did you get this iead from?

artmika said...

...from people who watched it

Anonymous said...

have these "people who watched it" call Armenia Fund office at 818-243-6222 to make an appointment to come and see the full 12 hours of the Telethon. It is not there... Please, before saying stuff about Armenia Fund, do like Santa does -- check it twice...

artmika said...

I appreciate your advice. However, I do not know if there are differences between that 12 h version archived by the Armenia Fund and full live broadcast, as seen in Armenia and Europe. People who alerted on the appearance of VO.X music did it by live commenting (plus afterwards) on Twitter and Facebook, along with the Telethon broadcast, and did not get challenged by the official Armenia Fund twitter account. In fact, before making this post, I did ask the very first person who alerted on this incident on twitter to confirm it, and I got such confirmation. 

I would happily post response by Armenia Fund if they believe the facts presented in my post are not correct.

Anonymous said...

Here it is: my name is Sarkis Kotanjian, I am the Executive Director of Armenia Fund, Inc. and the Executive in Charge of Production for Telethon 2010. Officially, I hereby state that no VO.X music video aired on Armenia Fund's Telethon 2010. Please stop this nonsense.

artmika said...

Thanks for your comment. I updated my post accordingly.

Lara said...

i am confused now, did it or did it not air?

artmika said...

Lara jan, I feel exactly the same - confused.

scwolf-10k said...

I could write a random paragraph and claim to be Serj Sarkisian.
Sorry to be skeptical or whatever, but a few lines posted in a comment by an anonymous person, claiming it to be from an official person with no official source where that comment came from.. I don't buy it.

artmika said...

You are right. We need official confirmation that it was indeed Sarkis Kotanjian, "the Executive Director of Armenia Fund, Inc. and the Executive in Charge of Production for Telethon 2010".

To Sarkis Kotanjian:

Could you please email me at artmika.unzipped@gmail.com your comment from the Armenia Fund email account, confirming your identity. Thanks.

artmika said...

I can now confirm that it was indeed Sarkis Kotanjian, the Executive Director of Armenia Fund, Inc. and the Executive in Charge of Production for Telethon 2010.

I received an email from his official Armenia Fund email account confirming the comment and identity:

Dear ArtMika,

My name is Sarkis Kotanjian, I am the Executive Director of Armenia Fund, Inc. and the Executive in Charge of Production for Telethon 2010. Officially, I hereby state that no VO.X music video aired on Armenia Fund's Telethon 2010. Please stop this nonsense once and for all.

Sincerely,
Sarkis Kotanjian

Executive Director
Armenia Fund, Inc.
111 N Jackson St, Ste 205
Glendale, CA 91206
Tel: 818-243-6222
Fax: 818-243-7222
Email: info@armeniafund.org
URL: www.armeniafund.org

@geoy said...

A question to the executive Director of Armenia Fund. Do you control everything you air on H1 during the Telethon? Or airing VoX video clip was H1 own idea just to cheer up donators?
Thank you

Sarkis Kotanjian said...

Armenia Fund controlled the 12 hour television feed of the Telethon that took place Thursday, November 25 8:00:00-19:59:59 PST (Los Angeles time) as it leaves the KCET studio in Hollywood. Television stations are not allowed to alter the feed in any shape or form. If you have factual proof of the VO.X music video being aired during the time of the Telethon broadcast (factual being a recording of the music video during the Telethon with Armenia Fund telephone numbers on the screen and donor names scrolling on the bottom) please send in to skotanjian@armeniafund.org, so that we can investigate on our end.

My issue in all this is the following: I am having a hard time understanding what is going on. The only music video aired during the Telethon was Sofi Mkheyan's "Chanachir", the rest of the music was performed live at the studio.

Cheers,
Sarkis Kotanjian

MMK said...

you wanna say that VO.X was not even invited there???

Ara Manoogian said...

If you want a reason to question why to reconsider under the present situation if to donate or not to donate to the Armenia Fund, become informed and visit www.thetruthmustbetold.com and read the White Paper on “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund that is posted there.