On Wednesday, 31 May 2017, Cathay Cineleisure put up a banner advertisement for Pink Dot 2017 on an escalator at the mall. It drew complaints from members of the "We are against Pinkdot in Singapore" Facebook group, which is opposed to the annual rally held in support of the LGBT community.
The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) subsequently advised Cathay Organisation to remove the phrase, "Supporting the freedom to love." In a statement on Friday, 9 June 2017, ASAS said this "may affect public sensitivities due to the issues at hand".
"The rest of the advertisement may otherwise remain," said the advertising watchdog, which noted that "the Pink Dot advertisement at Cineleisure technically does not breach the general principle on family values in the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice".
It added that promoting the Pink Dot event was allowed, as long as the organisers obtained the necessary permit to hold it. "Hence, advertisements that publicise details of the event, such as the date and the location, are acceptable," ASAS stated.
On Friday, 2 June 2017, mall management Cathay Organisation confirmed that ASAS had written to the company about the ad.
However, Cathay said it was not in the position to decide on the matter. Even though it was the owner of the advertising platform provided to the event, the ownership of the ad belonged to Pink Dot, it said. "We will, however, relay the ASAS comments to the organisers of Pink Dot," said a spokesperson.
Cathay also reiterated its statement earlier this week that it supported "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. We hope that this positivity can be felt by all, and wish for greater acceptance and understanding amongst fellow Singaporeans," the spokesperson said.
This article was written by Roy Tan.