BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
LOS ANGELES—The president and general manager of KABC-TV Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate, issued a statement on Monday saying the station regrets “the inclusion in our story of a short bite from the interview denying the existence of the Genocide on historical grounds, which is counter to the position of a majority of historians today who do call it a Genocide.”
After Asbarez revealed last week that a KABC cameraman was caught on tape calling Armenians “thug-like idiots” and other bigoted comments, the Armenian-American community expressed its outrage by reaching out to ABC7 by phone, email and social media and registered its complaints and grievance.
In response to the community’s anger over the incident, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region along with the Armenian Youth Federation and the Armenian Bar Association reached out to KABC –TV’s leadership and met with the Disney-owned station’s president and general manager, Cheryl Kunin Fair, to discuss the incident and to sensitize ABC7’s leadership about inclusion of Armenian Genocide deniers on their air.
After Asbarez’s article was published, Kunin Fair issued a statement, in which she assured the public about the station’s decision not to use the cameraman in question. Monday’s statement by KABC-TV goes a step further and pledges that the station would work with the three organizations to better report on the Armenian Genocide.
“We are gratified that ABC7 responded promptly and effectively to the legitimate concerns raised by our community as a result of both its on-air reporting and the off-air derogatory comments by its former cameraman about the Armenian Genocide and the Rally for Justice on April 24th,” said ANCA-WR Chairwoman Nora Hovsepian.
“After extensive discussions with ABC7 management, we are satisfied with the steps that ABC7 is willing to take to rectify this matter, including the statement published today. Any implication that there are two sides to the story of the Armenian Genocide is historically and factually wrong, and giving voice to Genocide deniers is unacceptable just as it would be for Holocaust deniers. We look forward to working closely with ABC7 to further develop its relationship with our community and its concerns, and we are confident that ABC7 will move forward soon with its commitment to do so,” explained Hovsepian.
Below is the complete text of the KABC-TV’s statement.
ABC7 regrets what happened and apologizes for the pain this incident caused the Armenian community, especially on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. The actions of the cameraman in question, who no longer works for the station, and the resulting story that aired that day, were not an accurate reflection of ABC7′ s commitment to the Armenian community. While the cameraman’s comments did not air, we regret the inclusion in our story of a short bite from the interview denying the existence of the Genocide on historical grounds, which is counter to the position of a majority of historians today who do call it a Genocide, and see the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians as a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people.
Efforts are underway in partnership with the ANCA, A YF, Armenian Bar Association and others to provide opportunities for public dialogue, internal education, and meaningful stories about and for the Armenian community and their efforts for Genocide recognition and education. We are committed to moving forward with these initiatives and we thank the ANCA and its partner organizations for their leadership in this dialogue and willingness to listen.
Cheryl Kunin Fair
President and General Manager