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Samsung pulls ad with drag queen after backlash

Samsung has pulled an ad showing a Muslim mother expressing support for her drag queen son in Singapore, after backlash from the Muslim community.

Several social media users alleged it was “an attempt to push LGBT ideology.”

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Samsung said it was aware the video “may be perceived as insensitive and offensive.”

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Singapore remains largely conservative on LGBTQ issues, even as local groups call for greater acceptance.

The ad was meant to promote Samsung’s new wearable products, like noise-cancelling earbuds and a smart watch with a heart rate monitor.

It filmed several participants’ reactions as they listened to heartfelt recorded messages from their loved ones. One of the pairs of participants featured a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf as she heard a message from her son, who was a drag performer.

“You are just unbothered having people looking or judging you differently, having a son that does drag,” he tells her in his message.

The scene sparked outrage online, with some saying it was insensitive to the Muslim community, although others defended it and criticised its removal.

“We are against the ideology of mainstreaming homosexuality and transgenderism into a conservative society,” one user Syed Dan wrote on Facebook. “It disrupts the harmony within the Malay-Muslim community.”

Another person, Muhammed Zuhaili, posted that the video had “surfaced much confusion and questions amongst the (Muslim) community.”

The South Korean tech giant later scrubbed the video from all its public platforms.

“We acknowledge that we have fallen short in this instance,” the company wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

However, other social media users came out in support of the ad, questioning the controversy that surrounded it.

“Imagine being offended and threatened by a mother’s love for her child.” wrote one Instagram user, bhaskunju.

Others criticised Samsung’s decision to pull the ad, pointing out that it contradicted its statement that “innovation and growth are driven by diversity and inclusivity.”

“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” wrote Facebook user Mo Li Mi.

In a video posted on Instagram on Thursday, the drag queen reassured followers that he and his mother were “doing well.”

“I’m not going to talk about the comments that was said in (that video),” he said. “It was all about a mother’s love in that video, nothing else was mentioned.”

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