Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West has publically taken the Wall Street Journal to task for printing an ad that effectively denied the events of the Armenian genocide.
In a full page open letter published in the New York Times on Sunday (18 September), the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star, who has Armenian heritage on her father's side, called out the WSJ for a print campaign it published back in April on behalf of an organisation called Fact Check Armenia.
Under the heading 'Genocide Denial Cannot Be Allowed', Kardashian West's ad was printed in the NYT in partnership with the Armenian Education Foundation. It took issue with claims made by Fact Check Armenia that the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman government in 1915 did not constitute as 'genocide'.
— Aram Hamparian (@ANCA_DC) September 17, 2016
"Money talks and right now it’s talking crap," the celebrity wrote in the letter, adding: "My family and I are no strangers to BS in the press. We’ve learned to brush it off. Lies make good headlines, good headlines make great covers, great covers sell magazines. But when I heard about this full-page ad that ran in the Wall Street Journal denying the Armenian genocide, I couldn’t just brush it off."
She went on to say that the original WSJ ad was paid for by Turik Platform but refused to list the group's website in order to stop them from getting traffic, and continued: "For the Wall Street Journal to publish something like this is reckless, upsetting, and dangerous. To profit from genocide, it's shameful and unacceptable."
The TV star also noted that the WSJ defended the ad when it ran in April, telling Gawker at the time that it accepted a "wide range" of ads, "including those with provocative viewpoints."
"While we review ad copy for issues of taste, the varied and divergent views expressed belong to the advertisers," a spokesperson added.
Kardashian West challenged this point, asserting: "Advocating the denial of a genocide by the country responsible for it — that’s not publishing a ‘provocative viewpoint,’ that’s spreading lies. It’s totally morally irresponsible, and, most of all, it’s dangerous. If this had been an ad denying the Holocaust, or pushing some 9/11 conspiracy theory, would it have made it to print?"
The tragedy, which took place in WWI, still remains a sensitive issue, with the total Armenian death toll still disputed by the Turkish government. While there is agreement that hundreds of thousands died, Armenians put the figure at 1.5 million while Turkish authorities place it at around 300,000.
It is formally recognised as a genocide in more than 20 counties including France, Italy and Russia, but UK and US leaders use different terminology to describe the events. Kardashian West has previously campaigned to get president Obama to use the term.