Demi Lovato poster banned in UK for causing ‘offence to Christians’ after just four complaints
A poster featuring Demi Lovato for her newest album HOLY FVCK has been banned in the UK for causing “offence to Christians”.
The poster, which featured the singer lying on a cross-shaped bed wearing bondage attire, was reportedly banned after a review from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found it could be offensive.
The regulatory organisation investigated the poster following just four complainants who claimed it was “irresponsibly placed where children could see it” and could also cause “widespread offence”.
It said that due to the name of the album coupled with the crucifix imagery – a common symbol used by Christians – was “likely to cause serious offence”.
“We considered that the ad was likely to result in serious and widespread offence and had been targeted irresponsibly,” the ruling explained.
The poster of the non-binary singer appeared in six specific sites in London over a four-day period before being removed on 23 August 2022.
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The ASA explained that, due to the advert “referring to a swear word that many would find offensive”, it ruled that it had breached CAP Code rules 1.3 and 4.1.
Both rules dictate that marketing communications must “be prepared with a sense of responsibility” to its content and must “consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.”
“The ad must not appear again in the form complained of unless it was suitably targeted,” it continued. “We told Universal Music Operations Ltd to ensure their ads did not cause serious or widespread offence in the future.”
But several media advocacy organisations have criticised the decision following the ASA’s ruling.
Nonprofit group Humanists UK condemned the decision, saying that the regulatory body’s decision to ban the advert on the basis of religious offence was “unacceptable”.
Public affairs and policy director of Humanists UK Richy Thompson said: “Regardless of what anyone may think of the language used in Lovato’s advert, or its appropriateness for children, religious offence should never be grounds to ban an advert.
“It’s been fifteen years since anti-blasphemy laws in England and Wales were repealed,” he continued. “Yet since then, the ASA has continued to enforce a de facto ban on blasphemy by banning adverts for this reason.”
Demi Lovato’s newest album was released in August 2022 to generally positive reviews.
George Griffiths of the Official Charts Company described the album as “a dark and dangerous collection of high-throttle pop-punk stompers which contain some really genuine, heartbreaking lyrical revelations”.
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