YEREVAN — Armenia’s second president Kocharyan has sued the creators of the epic movie “Avatar” for sarcastically smearing his political career and “libel”. The representative of the ex-president claimed there is evident parallel and mockery between the plot of “Avatar” and Armenia’s modern history.
Attorney Sargis Payan explains Kocharyan’s decision: “It is obvious that the movie is a cheap slap at ex-president’s political career. I mean look at the facts — Cameron depicts a gang taking over a country, taking over resources of the country, using funny accents and abundantly resorting to violence to chill off tensions. It’s an open-ended political smear.”
Interestingly, this is a second similar case after one filed against “Hraparak” daily. The only difference is that Hraparak’s article smeared Kocharyan’s name at just about 6 mln AMD, while “Avatar” struck a bigger blow.
Yerevan central court of first instance has already subpoenaed James Cameron to show up at May 27 preliminary hearing. Sources report rampant chaos and panic amid Cameron’s friends and family:
“Frankly, the lawsuit came as a surprise, since we had tried to find a settlement from the very beginning,” Cameron’s legal man Andy Jackson says. “We suggested they send us a disclaimer text that we publicize by building a new movie on it that depicts people welcoming the tyranny or picturing the military gang as cool and well-meaning people. However, before we knew it, we held a subpoena in our hands…”
The court case spread concern among diplomatic corpse of US. British and French Ambassadors visited James Cameron’s studio expressing support. Source report Pan Ki-Mun stopping by for a quick ‘cheer-up’ with the “Avatar” staff.
The other issue is about the size of the reimbursement demanded. As we inquired why the Kocharyans request 6 billion USD as “moral compensation”, attorney Payan retorted: “Only 3 billion of that sum is to cover legal services. The other 3 billion is what US law allows for and which, inadvertently, fully coincides with the size of moral damage inflicted on the ex-president public credit who lost 35-40 % chances for an active political future.”
Human Rights activist Artur Sakunts calls the case “a severe blow to freedom of media in Armenia.” “This is a clear-cut attempt to silence free movie industry and financially cripple their functionality. Is “Avatar” an explicitly insulting mockery of Kocharyan’s rule — absolutely yes, however responding to it with a lawsuit is just an authoritarian whim.”
The spokesman of the second president Viktor Soghomonyan believes “Avatar” and Hraparak’s controversial article carry identical penmanship. “Clearly, both the movie and the article were produced by the opposition forces with Zionist support behind their back. Both render open smear-attack at the ex-president and libel has and will be punished harshly regardless of geography.”
The court case, where James Cameron is called in as respondent, will take place on May 27 and our journalist team will closely follow and cover the process of recovering the dignity and harmed political credit of the second president.