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Malaysian authorities seize rainbow watches from Swatch over LGBTQ claims

Malaysian authorities seize rainbow watches from Swatch over LGBTQ claims

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Swiss watchmaker Swatch has said that Malaysian authorities raided a number of its stores and confiscated 164 rainbow-coloured watches worth a total of US$14,000 from its Pride collection for LGBTQ connotations, according to AP News.

It reported that Malaysia's Ministry of Home Affairs raided various outlets across eleven different malls and confiscated watches that came in the colours of the rainbow. Malaysia is known for criminalising same-sex relationships with punishments including caning and jail time.

The seizure was reportedly based on the Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984 which ensures that content produced does not offend or undermine race relations.

Swatch then released a statement by its CEO, Nick Hayek Jr. nothing that it "strongly contests" the idea that its rainbow watches, which were put out with the message of peace and love, could be harmful. 

He noted that Swatch has always promoted the positive message of having joy in one's life and that there was nothing political in its messaging. He ended his statement by questioning how the Regulatory and Enforcement Division of the Home Ministry will "confiscate" the many natural rainbows that appear in Malaysia skies yearly. 

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The news comes shortly after a Facebook user by the name of Fdaus Ahmad took to the platform to share a picture of Swatch's rainbow coloured watch collection. In his post, he said that Malaysians need not wait for Coldplay to come to the country and that if they wear a Swatch watch, they can throw it away. 

Ahmad was referencing calls for an upcoming Coldplay concert in the country to be cancelled due to the fact that band members have been public about supporting the LGBTQ community. The uproar was so significant that recently, lead singer Chris Martin apologised in a radio interview saying that he was sorry if anyone was not happy that they are coming but that the band loves them too. 

Swatch has since noted that it has resumed selling its Pride collection and that its legal team is looking into the matter. 

A+M has reached out to Swatch for more information.

Swatch has enjoyed great success in Asia thus far. Just lear, on the heels of an incredibly successful collaboration with OMEGA, Swatch released its Swatch X Dragon Ball Z Collection Goku, Cell, Frieza, Majin Buu, Gohan, Vegeta, Kame Sennin and Shenron. Dragon Ball Z is the sequel to the 1986 to1989 Dragon Ball anime series. The former series stars the Saiyan warrior Goku in his adulthood and fatherhood. Goku and his team of fighters continue to defend earth from extraterrestrial enemies. It ran from 1989 to 1996.

In this collection, there are seven Swatches and a limited edition set that reimagined iconic characters from Dragon Ball Z. There are two versions or elements of the same character on the front and back of each watch. The characters’ names are in English on the front upper loop, in Japanese on the reverse, and the Dragon Ball Z logo on the bottom loop, showing the level of detail and passion that has gone into this collaboration.

Related articles:
After OMEGA success, Swatch fires up partnership with Dragon Ball Z
Brands turn to trendjacking as Swatch-OMEGA's CX fails to land with product shortages
Why are consumers over the moon with the Swatch X OMEGA collab?

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