I didn't believe it possible, but
here is an example of an American television show apparently portraying the
Armenians in a-less-than favorable light.
Jean Marais provides wonderful
commentary on its implications. (The following appeared in The Turkish
First Season: February 2,
2003 - May 11, 2003
Is this poetic justice or what? It seems Harut Sassouninan,
the publisher of the fishwrap known as the 'California Courier,' is up in arms about a TV
program called 'Dragnet.' He is all bent out of shape because of his perception that this
TV show portrays his super-duper Armenians in a negative light. I have a slightly
different take on this. I think it's a case of chickens coming home to roost. I think it's
a case that proves God's existence. The wheels of justice turn painfully slow, but they
keep on grinding 24/7. Please find below, Sassounian's article and my message to Harut.
The chickens have come home to roost, as they are wont to do. What goes around, comes
around. There is a god after all. So why are you bellyaching now? The ancient Hindu
thinker, Guido Sarducci, once said: "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the
business of slander and calumny." After all, this is just a tiny dose of the medicine
you vicious Zibidiyans have been dishing out to others since God named the Armenians to be
the His gift to humanity. Stop the whining, Harut, and take your medicine like a man. This
is just the beginning of the comeuppance which the hatemongering Armenian slicks so richly
In the event, I don't see that you have much cause for whining and moaning. It seems to
me, the rest of America is just beginning to see the miscreant 'ians' and 'yans' for what
they are. It does not take long for your long-suffering Armenians to show their true
colors as has become evident to the indigenous denizens of Glendale. I can understand your
displeasure with the negative stereotyping of the Armenian ilk on TV, but rather than
spewing your venom on the depicters of the Armenians' true face, you ought to dispense
your sage advice to the Armenian swindlers, scam artists, cutthroats and youth hoodlum
gangs of Glendale and other Armenian-settled
Harut, being the ultra-nationalist Armenian crazie that you are, getting upset and
ballistic at the smallest perceived slight against your ilk, you still must concede that
the recent arrivals to Glendale from Yerevan have introduced us to some of the most
creative scams ever witnessed in this country. Harry Houdini could have learned a lesson
or two from these Armenian newcomers. At least old Harry was a citizen. Your three-card-monte,
hocus-pocus artists from Yerevan don't even hold a green card. My hat's off to them for
their creative scams.
But take heart, Harut. As the Yerevan community matures and joins the American mainstream,
they will behave less criminally. The spotlight will shift to other newcomers. In the New
York area of the 1950s and 1960s, Puerto Rican immigrants had much the similar experience
as your Armenians of Glendale and Fresno. Because of the criminal behavior of some Puerto
Ricans, they were all painted with the same broad brush. They were all called
"spics" and what not. But today, our Puerto Ricans are much in the mainstream,
having been replaced by other newcoming groups for derogation. I
am sure that your Armenians of Glendale will in time become just as respected - maybe in
another couple hundred years or so.
Harut, I don't know if you heard of the Scottish philosopher Guido Sarducci, but he once
said: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." You and your
hatemongering, miserable ilk reveled in pushing the Armenian-financed 'Midnight Express'
and 'Ararat.' Now you have the unmitigated gall to complain about anti-Armenian slurs in
'Dragnet'? Welcome to justice on earth, Mister. Do unto others as you would have them do
When Turks decried the malicious falsehoods in the Oliver Stone and Atom Egoyan films,
they were told that film makers have "artistic license" and artistic _expression
cannot be restricted. You and the rest of the odious, hatemongering Armenian fanatics were
quite happy with that. In fact, regarding Atom's film, you and other Armenian slicks, in
unison, planted false stories in newspapers about Turkish attempts at blocking and
censoring the showing of 'Ararat.' But in contrast,there is nothing false about your
obnoxious attempts to censor 'Dragnet.' It's all there in your own words, in the fishwrap
you publish, in black and white. Your shamelessness, your ugly hypocrisy, your Neanderthal
behavior go beyond the pale.
Notwithstanding your pitiful anti-Turkish hatemongering, I wish you success in your
protests and censorship efforts against the producers and exhibitors of 'Dragnet.' In the
future, as you continue to push your obscene, venomous anti-Turkish agenda, someone might
remind you of your faked, righteous indignation in taking umberage at programs like
'Dragnet,' which you deem to
be insulting to your thick Armenian hides. Harut, try sticking a pin into your own flesh,
before sticking a dagger into others. As my friend, Paul Newman, (Joanne's husband) said
in the 'Philadelphia Story' : HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?
Sauce good for the goose, gander and all that jazz. Now, excuse me while I go watch this
episode of 'Dragnet,' as I sip a glass of schadenfreude, courtesy of your hateful ilk.
Hour-Long TV Show 'Dragnet'
Depicts Armenians as Savages
By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, California Courier
The USA Network re-broadcast on July 5, 2003, a one-hour police drama called Dragnet
which portrayed all Armenians as vicious criminals. While presenting the
fictionalized version of a murder allegedly committed by two Armenian individuals,
it impugned the good name of all Armenians, not just the ones who committed the
crime. It referred to Armenians in general as
gangsters and savages.
This episode originally aired on ABC-TV on February 16, 2003 -- which was seen by 8
million Americans and countless millions more saw it during its second airing in
July -- so far two opportunities to view these nasty depictions about Armenians on
national TV. Some may think that Armenians are over-reacting to negative remarks
being made about an Armenian character in a TV show. That is not the case at all.
The Armenian community
would not have been so agitated had the show simply depicted a criminal with an
Armenian last name. After all, individuals from many other ethnic groups are
regularly portrayed on the screen as murderers, burglars, rapists, and terrorists.
What makes this case particularly egregious is that it defames the entire Armenian
nation, not just an individual of Armenian background.
The show starts with Los Angeles Police Department detectives inspecting the corpse
of a man with his throat slashed, lying in a pool of blood on Mulholland Drive in
Los Angeles. A medical examiner explains that in order to inflict maximum pain on
the victim, the killers had made a superficial cut on his throat, so he would bleed
to death slowly. They had hit him over the head with a blunt object and had shot
both of his knees.
While the victim is a non-Armenian, the "brutal as hell" unknown killers,
on the other hand, are immediately labeled by the detectives as "these savages,
the Armenians." The detectives then use a series of racist adjectives to
describe Armenians in general:
"Slit throat, bullets to the knees. That's their MO [Modus Operandi]. They came
off the boat killing. Ex-KGB, Special Forces, mercenaries. ...Say they want
something. You don't give it to them. They don't kill you. They kill your mother,
father, son, daughter. Then you get the message and you give them what they want.
...Armenians. Why would Holt [the victim] know those
kind of gangsters?"
After a second murder, the detectives immediately conclude: "Déjà vu all over
again. Slit throat. The Armenian special. Bullets in the knees."
When an acquaintance of the victim tells the detectives that the
perpetrator may be a man by the name of "Anatoly," detective Friday
immediately says, "who happens to be Armenian, I bet!" He then adds,
"The Armenians had their own version of the Hollywood ethic. It was not enough
for them to succeed.
Everyone else had to die. One of the interesting things about police work is that
killers often don't look the part. That was not the case with Anatoly Derian."
After surmising that Derian was swindled out of his money by movie producers Jesse
Ross and Peter Holt, one of the detective asks his colleague the following
rhetorical question: "You're the Armenians [sic]. You give Jesse and Holt all
kinds of money. They spend the money. They can't get it back. What do you do?"
The second detective answers matter-of-factly: "Start cutting peoples'
After repeatedly referring to Derian as "a lunatic Armenian" and "an
Armenian gangster," the producers of the show, not content to have maligned the
Armenians enough, introduces Derian's uncle, Alex Karpoyan, who owns a
"high-end strip joint in Van Nuys." He is immediately identified as the
killer of Holt.
At the end of the show, the court verdicts are announced: "Derian entered a
plea of murder in the first degree. He was sentenced to a life term without
parole." Karpoyan was "convicted of murder in the first degree and
sentenced to die by lethal injection. He is now on death row at the state
penitentiary at San Quentin."
The producers deliberately mislead the viewers into believing that the show is based
on a true story. There is an announcement at the beginning of the show that states:
"The story is inspired by actual events. The names have been changed to protect
the innocent." This statement is somewhat contradicted by another announcement
made at the end of the show: "All characters and events in the preceding story
have been fictionalized to
protect the innocent. No actual person was depicted." Despite these confusing
announcements, the episode is presented like a documentary, leading the viewers to
believe that the characters and the events are authentic. It leaves the clear
impression that Armenians are vicious people.
This racist show has already been broadcast twice on network television. Immediate
steps must be taken not to allow its further showing in this country and its
syndication overseas. Here are some suggestions as to the actions that could be
taken against those responsible for this horrible show:
The lion's share of the blame goes to the writer of the show, Robert Port. The
Creative Artists Agency describes him as a "Deputy in the Los Angeles County
Sheriff's Department." It appears that Port and/or his agency have
misrepresented his employment. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department confirmed to the
writer of this column that Port was simply a reserve
deputy, which means that he works there only a few hours a month. Why did Port write
such a viciously anti-Armenian script? How could a "reserve deputy
sheriff" who apparently holds such racist attitudes towards Armenians work as a
law enforcement officer in a diverse multi-ethnic society? The Armenian community
should ask L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca to dismiss
Port from the Sheriff's Department and issue a letter of apology. Sheriff Baca's
e-mail address is: email@example.com.
Complaints should also be directed to:
Dick Wolf, Executive Producer of Dragnet, (phone 818-777-3131; fax 818-866-1446);
Michael Eisner, Chairman & CEO, The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of
ABC (phone 818-560-6180; fax 818-560-1300);
Bob Iger, President and COO for ABC (phone 818-650-6400; fax 818-560-5960);
Michael Jackson, Chairman Universal Television Group for USA Network
(phone212-413-5658; fax 212-413-6557);
Ron Meyer, Chief Operating Officer Vivendi Universal Entertainment
(phone818-777-5000; fax 818-777-2500).
Unless the producers of the show and those holding the rights for this episode agree
to delete the defamatory language targeting all Armenians, community organizations
should consider filing a lawsuit seeking to ban this episode from being aired again.
I haven't seen the
episode, but reading a synopsis... the Armenian factor seems to have been only a small
part of the episode. (Episode Three, broadcast Feb. 16, 2003... "All That
Glitters": "Detective Friday is concerned that a small-time movie
executive isn't telling all she knows regarding her investors and the gangland style
murder in Malibu of one of her co-workers." Among fourteen guest stars, only one
character has an Armenian name.)
"Slit throat, bullets to the knees. That's their MO [Modus
Operandi]. They came off the boat killing. Ex-KGB, Special Forces, mercenaries. ...Say
they want something. You don't give it to them. They don't kill you. They kill your
mother, father, son, daughter. Then you get the message and you give them what they want.
Well! That sounds remarkably similar to the Armenian
M.O. in Van.
Armenian Revolt in Van: Eyewitness Testimony