Americana won't post billboard for Armenian genocide film, advocates say

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A proposed billboard at the Americana at Brand is stirring up controversy after community leaders say the mall rejected the ad. (KABC)

A proposed billboard at the Americana at Brand is stirring up controversy after community leaders said the mall rejected the ad.

The mall's decision about the billboard, which advertises a film about Armenian genocide, has generated an outcry among some who would prefer to see it posted.

Artin Manoukian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, is asking the mall to reconsider.

"'Too political.' That was the two words. They say, 'Too political,'" said Manoukian.

He said the film, "Architects of Denial," is not political, but a historical documentary examining genocide with a focus on Armenia.

According to Manoukian, the film's producers wanted to put the billboard up at the Americana because of the visibility to the community in the area, which is the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia.

"They have the right to refuse, they have the right to approve, but we don't understand the logic behind it," said Manoukian. "We don't understand the reason behind it and by saying it's too political is truly, truly what really offended us."

State Sen. Anthony Portantino is joining the call for mall officials to reconsider their decision.

"You can rattle off a number of politically charged films that received advertising. 'Architects of Denial' should get the same treatment," Portantino said.

A Caruso spokesperson issued a statement to Eyewitness News, saying the issue "has become much more than a billboard, and it is not appropriate for us to weigh in on this sensitive topic."

The statement continued to read in part: "We are proud to be a part of the Glendale community and one of our guiding principles is to ensure that everyone in the community feels welcome."

UPDATE: On Thursday morning, the local Armenian community announced that the mall will now allow advertising for the documentary "Architects of Denial" at no cost. Mall management is promising to work with film producers and the city of Glendale to display the ad.
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