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Samsung pulls ad showing Muslim mum's support for drag queen son after public pushback

A supposed to be a heart-warming advertisement was pulled by Samsung after some netizens lambasted it for insensitivity to religious Muslim community.

This news in Singapore elaborates the incident and other issues involving the role and responsibility of social media users to be more careful on other people’s beliefs.

A public backlash

Samsung removed a video on all of its social media page on January 19 that presented a Muslim woman supporting her drag queen son after it gone viral and received public backlash in Singapore.

In the video, it showed some people using the latest earbuds from the brand and listening to messages from their loved ones while their smartwatches simultaneously tracking their heart rate. 

The ad included scenes depicting pairs of differing relationships including a man sticking up to her partner suffering from depression, a neglectful father making amends to her daughter, and a couple of best buddies.

However, most of the attention of the netizens focused towards a mother who wears a tudung headdress while showing support to her son doing drag.

In the ad, the mum is depicted trying to withhold her tears as she is listening to her son’s voice.

“Dear Mum, not all people are blessed with a receptive and compassionate parent like you and I can’t be grateful enough for all the love you’ve given me,” said the son.

“You are unconcerned with what other people are saying, including their judgements to you for having a son doing drag,” he added.  

Later, he surprised her mother by showing up in the room donning a full-on drag make-up and then they hugged each other.

Public reaction

Some people who have viewed the ad find it too offensive and shared their opinions online about the ad.

In one Facebook post in particular, a netizen said the the ad is sending a definite message—that the “solemnity of Islam is afflicted by the concept of inclusivity which openly disregard whether something is tolerable or not”.

Another viewer commented and he thought that the video was an “adverse effort to push the LGBT agenda into a predominantly conservative Muslim society”.

Meanwhile, those who are in TikTok find it heartwarming and relevant, as they expressed their support for the ideologies presented in the Samsung advertisement.

The brand’s response

As a response to the public backlash, the tech giant deleted the advertisement from all of its social media pages.

According to the Facebook post of the brand on Wednesday, they admitted that the company did not meet the public’s standards as the ad campaign has been deemed indifferent and disrespectful to the religious beliefs of some of the members of our general public.

“The brand believes that modernization and progress are guided by inclusivity and diversity. We promise that we will be much more careful and meticulous in taking into consideration the perception and ideologies of other people into our marketing campaigns in the future,” the company added.

Another similar incident

In a not far off incident, there is an ongoing TikTok trend called “unboxing by husband” which shows predominantly Muslim newlyweds. In the videos, the husband removes the wife’s hijab in front of a mirror. 

The trend of ‘unboxing bride’ came from the popular YouTube and TikTok trend of unboxing videos in which social media influencers show a box of their recently-bought products and then slowly remove its contents which are often electronic devices and then tell their reviews.  

The trend also met public backlash from the conservatve citizens mainly from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. They said that removing the bride’s hijab for the general public violates the sanctity of Muslim marriage and desecrate the Islamic faith.

Conclusion 

The debate on the role of social media to spread inclusivity is still ongoing. For much more conservative societies, incidents like these are intolerable, perhaps as for now, brands should be mindful of their marketing campaigns to prevent offending other beliefs.