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Descendant of Kazakh composer demands 1mln in damages from gay smooch poster creators

Tengrinews illustration Tengrinews illustration

Scandal around the poster depicting Kazakh and Russian cultural figures kissing does not abate. The poster with an image of Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly kissing Russian poet Alexander Pushkin has mostly angered the public in Kazakhstan.

Many users on social networks called for the creators of the poster be punished by law. Now, a lawsuit worth one million tenge (around $5,500) in moral damages from the creators of the image has been filed, Tengrinews reports.

Lawyer Askar Kaimakov representing Nurken Khalykbergen confirmed to Tengrinews that he had filed the lawsuit. Nurken Khalykbergen is a distant descendant of the Kazakh composer who felt that the poster advertising a gay bar hurt his feelings.

The lawyer said that the amount of damages was based on a subjective assessed of the plaintiff. For comparison, the average monthly salary for July 2014 in Kazakhstan was 125,936 tenge or $691. Even though Khalykbergen was the one whose feelings were hurt, he said that since he did not consider himself a poor person, the Kazakh National Conservatory named after Kurmangazy was named the recipient of the money in his lawsuit.

The defendant in the case is the ads agency Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan. It was this agency that came up with the idea of Kurgmangazy kissing Pushkin in a poster which highly resembles the Berlin Wall Fraternal Kiss.

However, unlike the Fraternal Kiss, this poster failed to impress the public as nothing more but a desecration of cultural heritage. The image advertising gay bar and club "Studio 69" has attracted mostly negative attention after being awarded the third place at the Red Jolbors Fest Central Asian ads competition in "Outdoors Advertising" category.

The gay bar is located at the intersection of the streets carrying the names of the two famous men. This argument, however, did not convince the Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, who said the usage of such great personalities “on some posters” was “ugly”, “nonhuman” and “unacceptable”. “To some extent, it is a crime,” he added.

Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan has already officially apologized for their creation and said it was intended for a narrow circle of individuals solely within the competition. They also promised the ad would never go in print or be placed in paid media.

Administration of “Studio 69” denies being in any way involved with the poster. Still, with such publicity they can be sure the location of the establishment will long live in the memories of Kazakhstanis.  

By Dinara Urazova


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