Ikea Singapore to push through with discount offer on pastor's magic show

A screenshot showing the promotion by Ikea Family offering a discount to Pastor Lawrence Khong's magic show.

[UPDATED 21 April 2015 8.45pm: Ikea to continue offering discount to Lawrence Khong's magic show.]

Furniture retailer Ikea Singapore says it will continue offering its members a discount for Lawrence Khong's magic show after a review.

"After listening to the questions raised, we decided to do a thorough review. We spoke directly with the organisers, reviewed the content and confirmed that the Vision show offers high family entertainment value, therefore we will be continuing our promotion," said a statement on Ikea Singapore's Facebook page.

"As a company, IKEA Singapore respects the diversity and equality of all people living in our community. We also respect that all individuals have a right to their opinions and personal choices, including the freedom to choose their preferred entertainment," added the statement.

The furniture retailer was caught up in controversy earlier this week after its membership programme, Ikea Family, offered a discount for pastor Lawrence Khong’s magic show.

Ikea Family offered a discount for tickets to “Vision”, a magic show performed by Khong and his daughter Priscilla.

The pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church is well-known for his strong stance against homosexuality.

Ikea Singapore’s Facebook page was filled with pro-LGBT and anti-LGBT messages from various Facebook users on Monday, with some threatening to boycott Ikea if the retailer did not withdraw support for the show.  
“I would like to suggest that IKEA withdraw its support and maintain secular nature in choosing whom to support as being sensitive to the LGBT communities, non-Christians and Ikea [patrons],” wrote use Chen Hsiongcai.

“I am disappointed in you, IKEA, for supporting such a hateful and bigoted cause,” wrote user Sandara Tang.

“Poor IKEA Singapore. Got caught in the middle. If they continue the sponsorship, they will be boycotted by the pro-LGBT. If they stop sponsorship, they will be boycotted by the conservatives,” wrote one Facebook user by the name of Darryl Kang.

Netizens divided

However, others argued that those calling for equal rights and tolerance did not seem to be practicing what they preached.

On The Straits Times’ Facebook page, where the story first broke, netizens were divided.

“Unless the pastor is using the magic show as a platform to spread his views, IKEA should not allow the gay rights group to pressure them about the show. The pastor's beliefs and the performance should be seen as separate matters,” wrote Facebook user Hwa Heng Kan.

“Supporting a magic show is not tantamount to being anti gay unless the magic show attempts to spread an anti-gay message,” wrote Facebook user Sharon Eng.

Ikea Singapore has also reportedly clarified to LGBT news site Gay Star News that they are promoting the show on their website but not funding it.

Last year, Khong called for his church members to wear white to protest the annual Pink Dot gay rights rally.

Khong has also said in an interview with a local family magazine that he is “not just against homosexuality” but “against any form of sexual immorality – whether it’s pre-marital or extra-marital, whether it’s heterosexual or homosexual”.