Almost immediately, this announcement sparked outrage amongst the Armenian American community.
The reason for Armenian anger is due to the fact that the country of Turkey has never formally accepted responsibility for perpetrating the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which led to the deaths of over one and a half million Armenians. This has become a festering wound for the Armenian community, as Turkey has stubbornly not relented to international pressure placed on them to recognize the atrocities committed.
Turkish Airlines was founded by the government of Turkey in 1933. In 2005, the Turkish government began privatizing the company, and now a majority of the company is publicly owned.
Armenian Americans have been speaking out against Kobe's endorsement deal. Now, Kim Kardashian has joined in the fray and spoken out against his deal.
Reportedly, Kim has spoken to Kobe and asked him to cancel his deal. Kobe responded that his deal was a business contract and not political; he would not be canceling it.
Kim's sister Khloe is married to current Laker Lamar Odom and reportedly Kim has asked that Lamar pressure Kobe.
The problem is that Kim is singling out Kobe for his deal, not speaking out against others that have dealings with Turkey. Turkish Airlines is a sponsor of Manchester United and FC Barcelona and also have a marketing deal with Caroline Wozniacki, but Kim has never spoken out against those deals.
Moreover, there are a number of companies that are at least partly owned by the Turkish government, and a larger number of companies doing business in and out of Turkey which have never been the targets for Kim. Kobe is not a politician, has never publicly supported the Turkish position regarding the Armenian Genocide and therefore should not be criticized for accepting a marketing contract with a publicly traded company based in Turkey.
There are McDonald's restaurants in Istanbul, which pay taxes to the Turkish government; I don't recall Kim ever singling them out.
Kim herself has promoted Carl's Jr. restaurants, which is owned by CKE Restaurants, Inc. They have recently announced that they are researching expansion into some additional foreign countries, one of which is Turkey. However, she has never spoken out against her own employer about possibly expanding there.
Not only that, she has recieved her share of criticism herself by animal welfare groups over her frequent wearing of real fur. This has not dissuaded her from continuing to wear furs.
Kobe has been the target of a lot of criticism lately, especially over his Call of Duty: Black Ops television commercial appearance. Much of that criticism was spurred on by ESPN, the same company that was profiting from running that very same ad.
Kim has not taken the hypocritical level to that extreme, however, she does need to hold everyone to the same standards that she is trying to hold Kobe to, starting with herself.
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