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Samsung pulls advert in Singapore showing mother supporting drag queen son

The tech company has quickly retreated from an LGBTQ-inclusive new campaign.

2022-01-21

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

Members of Singapore's LGBTQ community have expressed their disappointment after an ad featuring a drag queen was removed by Samsung.

The ad in question showed a Muslim mother supporting her son as a drag queen. A screenshot of the ad shows the two characters embracing.

However, it attracted a backlash from Singapore's Muslim community, with some accusing the tech brand of pushing an "LGBT ideology". 

In the ad, which was showing off some of Samsung's wearable tech which as noise-cancelling earbuds and a smartwatch with a heart rate monitor, a Muslim woman with a headscarf hears a recorded message from her son who says: "You are just unbothered having people looking or judging you differently, having a son that does drag."

The BBC reports one person saying on social media: "Imagine being offended and threatened by a mother's love for her child"

Many have criticised Samsung for not defending the ad in the face of the backlash it received from some quarters. One person tweeted: "The whole point of doing these kind of ads is to stick to them and the community you claim you’re supporting, otherwise just go with a product shot and stop pretending you have a purpose."

Another social media user said:  "If the advertisement does not run afoul of any laws .. and has a positive message on the acceptance of marginalised people, Samsung should stick to its guns."

Hilmi, a centre manager at local LGBTQ+ organization Oogachaga told BBC News, "It was the first of its kind video coming from a minority group on a relationship between mother and son [and] was so affirming," 

"As a queer Malay man, I am saddened to see a video that expresses unconditional love [being] taken down abruptly due to societal pressure from a group of people with conservative values."

On Wednesday (19 January) after removing the advert Samsung said: "We acknowledge that we have fallen short in this instance," and that it was aware the video "may be perceived as insensitive and offensive".

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