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Cathay places giant Pink Dot ad at cinema entrance to promote LGBT festival

Singaporean cinema chain Cathay Cineleisure has erected an eight-metre billboard promoting Pink Dot in the lead-up the LBGT festival on July 1.

The giant ad, placed at the Orchard venue’s front entrance, features the event’s ambassadors — actor Ebi Shankara, singer Nathan Hartono and Singaporean paralympian Theresa Goh — plus details of the event.

The image was posted on Facebook on Friday by Bjorn Yeo, a creative partner at boutique design agency Tripple and Pink Dot supporter.

The ad follows a similar outdoor placement on the cinema’s escalator last week, which featured the contentious slogan ‘Support the freedom to love’. The line was called out by Singapore’s Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore for potentially “affecting public sensitivities”.

The ASAS said in a statement that it had “advised” the cinema owners, Cathay Organisation Holdings, to remove the line, adding that “the rest of the advertisement may otherwise remain.”

The organisers of Pink Dot have said the new outdoor placement was planned and not erected in response to the ASAS’ stance.

Cathay’s original escalator ad

However, the organisers have responded to the advertising watchdog with the following statement: “Pink Dot, exemplified by our tagline ‘supporting the Freedom to Love’, has never detracted from its message of inclusion and diversity, of embracing and welcoming everyone regardless of their race, language, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Pink Dot’s message is in line with the shared values of all Singaporeans that place the family as the basic unit of society.

“As we understand it, ASAS Council’s position is that Pink Dot’s advertisements at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard does not breach the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice, which carried the principle that an advertisement should not downplay the importance of family as a unit and foundation of society.

“As such, we cannot see how a tagline calling for inclusion and love can therefore be seen as undermining the concept of family or disrespecting the individual”

The statement continued: “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. We are confident Singaporeans are able to discern our message of inclusion, diversity and love from one that seeks to divide us because of differences.”

Meanwhile, Cathay has stood by the advertisement, saying that it has “always believed in an all-inclusive society where there is a place for everyone to call home” on Friday.

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