Malaysian Authority Confiscates Pride-themed Swatch Watches
SHANGHAI — Swatch Group said Wednesday that Malaysian authorities had confiscated 164 rainbow-colored Swatch watches from the brand’s Pride Collection.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs raided 11 Swatch retail outlets two weeks ago and seized the watches due to their “LGBT connotations,” according to AP’s report.
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According to a notice of seizure reviewed by local media, the watches are viewed as “morally harmful” under the country’s Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984.
“We strongly contest that our collection of watches using rainbow colors and having a message of peace and love could be harmful for whomever,” Nick Hayek, chief executive officer of Swatch Group, said in a statement.
“This is nothing political,” Hayek continued. “We wonder how the Regulatory and Enforcement Division of the Home Ministry will confiscate the many beautiful natural rainbows that are showing up a thousand times a year in the sky of Malaysia.”
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The Swiss watchmaker said the watches were worth a total of $14,000.
The “Love is Love” Swatch Pride collection, originally planned to be released before June’s Pride Month, features six styles that represent each of the six colors found on the Pride flag. Each watch also featured a symmetrical second hand symbolizing equality.
Swatch told AP that the company is looking into taking legal action to recover the confiscated goods.
Malaysian Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution told AP that he is waiting for a full report on the matter before issuing a statement.
As a predominantly Islamic state, LGBTQ-related matters remain a sensitive topic in the country. Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Malaysia.
The Swatch incident comes a few days after the opposition Malaysian Islamic Party called on the government to cancel a November Coldplay concert due to lead singer Chris Martin’s past support of LGBTQ rights.
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