Glendale’s Americana at Brand Rejects Genocide Documentary Billboard

GLENDALE, Calif.—The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Glendale chapter has learned that the producers of “Architects of Denial,” a documentary film about the Armenian Genocide, were denied billboard space at the Americana at Brand ostensibly because the advertising content was deemed “too political.”

The theatrical poster for Architects of Denial (Photo: Preserving Humanity Films)

“Architects of Denial,” which counts Dean Cain and Montel Williams as its producers, turns a crucial lens on the Armenian Genocide, including the denial of successive Turkish governments, along with other political authorities, of any responsibility for the genocide. Through the retelling of stories from survivors, “Architects of Denial” bridges the gap between mass-exterminations of the past and those occurring today.

“This issue is deeply concerning to the Armenian-American community, and the decision to deny advertisement space to a film that attempts to raise awareness of human rights violations is quite perplexing. As history has shown, the denial of the Armenian Genocide leads to the continuation of such hateful crimes. This film has the right to advertise and educate the community about this important subject,” a statement released by ANCA-Glendale read in part.

The statement went on to say that the Americana at Brand’s decision to reject a billboard advertisement of the film on the grounds that it is “too political” is unacceptable to the Armenian community. “It is disappointing to see the management’s betrayal of the Armenian community, the same one that contributes immensely to the Americana at Brand through taxpayer dollars and everyday commerce, the same community that voted to make the Americana a possibility. A denial of the request to publicize this documentary is a sign of disdain to the residents of Glendale and an attempt to censor historical facts,” the statement went on to say.

Upon learning of the American’s decision, ANCA Glendale immediately raised its concerns and expressed its disappointment to the Glendale City Council on Aug. 1. An official letter has been sent asking the management of Americana at Brand and its corporate owner, Caruso Affiliated, to reverse their decision.

“As citizens of Glendale, it is imperative to take a stand against the denial of the Armenian Genocide and protect the ones who raise awareness. Any attempts at suppressing genocide awareness is distasteful, offensive, and has no place in Glendale,” the ANCA Glendale chapter said.

The ANCA-Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian-American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public-policy levels.


  1. The shopping Center has a legal right to accept or deny any advertising. It is purely private space, and for that reason the First Amendment is not implicated – the First Amendment comes into play only when the state acts to create a public forum [like a plaza] or to promote a specific viewpoint.

    The State constitution liberty of speech clause is also not implicated because the shopping center has not made advertising space available free to the general public, thereby turning its space into a quasi public forum.

    The best result is for ANCA to buy a billboard and use it mostly to generate income, but to use the space in part to promote its viewpoint.

    • That’s a good point, and the advice is very good — sure the ANCA and other Armenian Diaspora Groups can purchase billboards, for the purpose of promoting genocide awareness. Meanwhile, people should express their disapproval, and their indignation against Americana, another words boycott Americana Shopping Center and its affiliates, without actually taking legal action.

    • I don’t know — it’d be interesting to take another look at legal options. Perhaps, their is something that prohibits ethnically based discrimination against Glendale’s Armenian American Community.

  2. The shopping center may have a right to decline the advertising, but the Armenian community of Glendale also has a right to decline to patronize an establishment with this attitude. Given the number of Armenians in Glendale, I think they would feel it!

  3. You are betraying your hatred or lack of concern for the Armenian Genocide when you disengeniously resort to specious and inappropriate plegalistic ratiocinations and hair-splitting under the pretext of defending human rights in the abstract. You would not DARE to use such spurious subtrefuge to try to silence any discussion of the Shoah. You are either a Turk, Azerbaijani or one of their paid lobbyists and should be ashamed for the Genocidal Turkish state’s century-old denial of the first genocide of the twentieth century which set the template for all the genocides that have proliferated since, precisely because the perpetrator of the Genocide went unpunished.

    • Edward,

      I am as Armenian as you are, but unlike you, I also know something about whether the Americana is required to allow the ad. So no, I am not Turk, Azerbaijani, or lobbyist.

      The best result is for ANCA to get its own billboard where the most people will see it. Modern billboards are electronic, and they carry more than a single message. The billboard could be a place where ANCA advises the community on issues of concern, but also advertises goods and services for pay.

      If your logic was correct, then the Turks could demand that my hypothetical ANCA billboard carry their message. We should control our messages rather than depend on third parties to do so.

  4. Unfortunately for the Americana denial of the billboard is a political act itself.

    And don’t kid yourselves, the Americana would’ve easily hosted this billboard a few year ago, but since the cities gone to shit with gentrification and foreign investment it’s a husk of what the Armenians did to make it great. Let’s go sun valley! :-)

    • Agreed — Americana’s Anti-Armenian advertisement position is surely influenced by Turkish lobby interests, and perhaps those of Azerbaijan’s lobby factions as well. Perhaps, some kind of indifference, among the Non-Armenian Glendale community, has also influenced Americana’s snubbing of its local Armenian American community.

  5. These Americana people may have the right to refuse the billboard, but the Armenian-American community also has a right to boycott business there. Having been to that part of CA, Americana has a lot of competition, and Armenians can make a statement that they don’t need Americana too.

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