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Samsung Withdraws Advertisement With Drag Queen After Online Backlash

Samsung Withdraws Advertisement With Drag Queen After Online Backlash
After receiving reactions from some members of the Muslim community, Samsung has withdrawn an advertisement depicting a Muslim mother expressing support for her drag queen son.
It was "an attempt to spread LGBT ideology," according to several social media users.
Samsung acknowledged in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the film "may be seen as insensitive and offensive."
Even as local groups urge for greater acceptance, Singapore remains primarily conservative on LGBTQ matters.
Samsung's new wearable devices, such as noise-canceling headphones and a smartwatch with a heart rate monitor, were promoted in the commercial.
It captured the reactions of several participants as they listened to poignant recorded greetings from loved ones.
A Muslim woman wearing a hijab received a message from her son, who was a drag act, according to one of the pairs of participants.
"You are just unbothered having people looking or judging you differently, having a son that does drag," he tells her in his message.
There was an online outrage at the scene as some netizens said that the scene was a sensitive one for the Muslim community and that the company had been insensitive to their feelings, although other online users defended it and criticized 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 user, Muhammed Zuhaili, posted that the video had "surfaced much confusion and questions amongst the (Muslim) community".
The video was later removed from all of the South Korean internet giant's public platforms.
"We acknowledge that we have fallen short in this instance," the company wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Singapore has a small ethnic Malay group, most of whom - though not all - identify as Muslims.
Other social media users, on the other hand, defended the commercial, questioning the criticism surrounding it.
"Imagine being offended and threatened by a mother's love for her child," wrote one Instagram user.
Samsung’s decision to pull down the advertisement was however criticized by other online users as they argued that the decision 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 marginalized people, Samsung should stick to its guns," said one Facebook user.
Members of the LGBTQ community in the area expressed their dissatisfaction with the ad's removal.
"It was the first of its kind video coming from a minority group on a relationship between mother and son [and] was so affirming," Hilmi, a center manager at local LGBTQ+ organization Oogachaga said.
"As a queer Malay man, I am saddened to see a video that expresses unconditional love [being] taken down abruptly due to societal pressure from a group of people with conservative values."
Meanwhile, the son who was featured in the video reassured followers that he and his mother were "doing well", in an Instagram video posted on Thursday.
"I'm not going to talk about the comments that [were] said in [that video]," the drag performer known as Vyla Virus said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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