Kazakhstan Minister of Culture calls gay smooch ad 'ugly' and 'nonhuman'29 august 2014, 20:53
The most widely discussed poster of the past few weeks in Kazakhstan is, undoubtedly, the one depicting Kazakh music composer of the 19th century Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly kissing Russian poet of the same century Alexander Pushkin. The poster promoting a gay bar and club located in Almaty at the intersection of the streets carrying the names of these two cultural figures was developed by ads agency Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan for a creative ads contest.
The poster sparked outrage in Kazakhstan. in social networks many users demanded that the poster was obliterated and its creators punished by law.
Now, the publication of the poster has been called a crime by the Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Mukhamediuly in an interview to Tengrinews.
"It is very regrettable that there are such ugly deeds in our flourishing Kazakhstan. Honestly, these are nonhuman acts. Both Alexander Sergeyevich [Pushkin] and Kurmangazy – these are personalities of a global scale. Of course, use of such iconic personalities on some posters is unacceptable. To some extent, it is a crime,” the Minister said.
There is something wrong with a society that allows use of great personalities' images in such a form, he said, but did not specify if this included the societies that allowed Benetton's Unhate smooches and the Berlin wall Fraternal Kiss.
Mukhamediuly said the Ministry would take measures against those responsible for the poster. “We have made an inquiry and found that use [of such posters] on the Internet in loose interpretation was unacceptable. There is a law by which the authors bear responsibility. I am closely following the developments,” he said.
The authors of the poster have already apologized and said it was intended for a narrow circle of ads professionals and meant for the competition only. And that they did not intend on sending the poster into mass production or used it as an actual ad. Nevertheless, the Minister did not seem convinced.
“Even though the authors refer to it being used only at their event (ads fest), this is still a violation. An event, which involves even a few people, still gains public attention. And referring to it being intended for private use only won't work either. There is a psychological aspect involved here it, I think. If people have some kind of weakness, it is their won internal problem; but it is absolutely unacceptable to propagate it in public, especially by using images of such respected persons."
Minister Mukhamediuly asserted the advertisers chose the wrong heroes for their provocative poster. “It is unfortunate especially because both Kurmangazy and Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin were fighting for purity. We all know perfectly well that Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin challenged [D'Anthès] to a duel for insulting his wife. (…) And Kurmangazy was a fighter for independence,” the Minister said.
One can only wonder: if the personalities were chosen differently, would the reaction be different?
Reporting by Assel Satayeva, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina