UPDATE: Cathay has clarified that the Pink Dot advertisement at Cineleisure front entrance was put up on Wednesday night, a day before the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) emailed the theatre operator requesting for amendments to be made to a separate Pink Dot advertisement at an escalator inside the mall.
The two advertisements contain the statement “Supporting the freedom to love”, which ASAS has asked Cathay to remove.
The front-entrance advertisement is estimated to be as long as eight metres. A photo of it was uploaded onto Facebook Friday night by user Bjorn Yeo.
Theatre operator Cathay will be forwarding the request by Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore to remove a statement on a Pink Dot advertisement to the LGBT event organiser.
In a statement issued to Yahoo Singapore on Friday (9 June), Cathay said that it is not “in the position to decide on the removal of the statement ‘Supporting the freedom to love’ on the advertisement”.
While Cathay is the owner of the advertising platform provided to Pink Dot, the ownership of the advertisement belongs to Pink Dot, a Cathay spokesman said.
Cathay will also relay the comments from ASAS about the advertisement to Pink Dot, the spokesman added.
In a statement on its Facebook page on Friday, Pink Dot said that the statement exemplifies inclusiveness and diversity, and is “in line with the shared values of all Singaporeans that place the family as the basic unit of society”.
Earlier, the ASAS had asked Cathay to amend the advertisement at Cathay Cineleisure. The advertisement has sparked a debate online, with some netizens calling for a police investigation.
The ASAS said its council found that the “Supporting the freedom to love” statement contravened the shared values of Singapore’s society, such as “family as the basic unit of society”, “community support and respect for the individual”, and “consensus, not conflict”.
Under the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice’s (SCAP) General Principles’ family values section, advertisements should not “downplay the importance of the family as a unit and foundation of society”.
However, ASAS did add that the advertisement had not breached general principles of practice.
In response to ASAS’ position, Pink Dot said that it “cannot see how a tagline calling for inclusion and love can therefore be seen as undermining the concept of family or disrespecting the individual”.
“We cannot help but wonder if the Council’s request arose out of complaints by a small group of people against Pink Dot who vociferously support the discrimination of Singapore’s LGBT community.”
Pink Dot added that it is open to speaking to ASAS and invite them to have a “frank discussion” on the issue.
Cathay reiterated that it will stand by its previous statement of supporting an all-inclusive society.
“Since making the statement, Cathay has received, and is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of positive support from the public through emails and social media,” the spokesman said.
“We hope that this positivity can be felt by all, and wish for greater acceptance and understanding amongst fellow Singaporeans.”
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