Post image for Armenians angered by Kobe’s latest endorsement

Armenians angered by Kobe’s latest endorsement

by Derrick Johnson on December 20, 2010

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is used to being widely adored throughout much of California, but the news that he'll be endorsing Turkish Airlines has raised the ire of some residents of the Golden State. The western U.S. chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) has roundly condemned the endorsement, Bloomberg reports.

The deal comes as Turkish Airlines is set to offer service between the Turkish capital of Istanbul and Los Angeles, and they chose to peg Bryant as their "global ambassador." However, Armenian Americans are upset with the partnership because of Turkey's continued denial that around 1.5 million Armenian deaths between 1915 and 1919 constituted genocide.

While it may seem like a small subset of Americans are upset with the five-time NBA champion, there are around 700,000 Armenian-Americans living in California, many of whom are settled in the Los Angeles area.

In a statement on their website, the AYF urged people to reach out to Bryant to encourage him to speak out about the genocide and to recognize the alleged wrongdoings of the Turkish government.

"Kobe has a proven track record of aiding various humanitarian efforts, and this is an opportunity for him to become a true 'global ambassador' of truth and publicly speak out about the Armenian Genocide," said AYF member Caspar Jivalagian.

The House of Representatives has been working to get a resolution passed that would officially recognize the deaths as genocide. The initiative has inspired Armenian-American Kim Kardashian to encourage her Twitter followers to tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make sure the bill passes.

While the terms of Bryant's deal were not fully disclosed, it is expected to last two years and his likeness will be used in advertisements in print, television, billboards and online media.

Previous post:

Next post: