MHA shuts down 10 foreign sponsors' requests for Pink Dot participation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has further "reiterated" its position on foreign brand involvement in Pink Dot 2017. Responding to Marketing’s queries, a spokesperson from MHA said that foreign entities should not fund, support or influence events that relate to domestic issues.

This is especially with “political issues or controversial social issues with political overtones”. The spokesperson added that MHA is of the view that the issue is a political, social and moral choice for Singaporeans to decide on. MHA's response follows a letter addressed to the Singapore Police Force, which saw foreign brands co-signing to request permission to support this year’s Pink Dot 2017 event.

MHA spokesperson explained that the ban on foreign involvement is not limited to just the support for Pink Dot, but also applies to organisers opposing the cause.

“The government has also made clear that it does not seek to proscribe such events. Local companies can fund - and indeed more local companies have come forward to fund - and support Pink Dot this year,” the MHA spokesperson added.

Brands which wanted to show their support for the cause include Airbnb, Apple, Facebook, Goldman Sachs Singapore, Google Asia Pacific, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Salesforce, Twitter Asia and Uber Singapore.

Airbnb, Google, Microsoft, NBC Universal and Salesforce confirmed to Marketing the signing of the letter while Marketing is still awaiting a response from Twitter, Goldman Sachs, Apple and Uber Singapore. Meanwhile, Facebook declined to comment on the matter.

In response to MHA's rejection of permission this year, a Google spokesperson said that the decision was "disappointing". She added that Google remains committed to supporting diversity and inclusion.

“We are disappointed by the outcome but respect the MHA’s decision. We will continue to foster an inclusive work environment and seek to hire the very best people regardless of gender or sexual orientation,” a Goldman Sachs spokesperson said.

An article on Channel NewsAsia, also said that the foreign brands sought permission to provide "modest financial and/or in-kind support for the event consistent with that of local companies". This means the foreign brands did not want to receive any official sponsorship recognition such as the inclusion of names and logos in event materials or at the event.

Currently, the number of local sponsors stands at 119 organisations, of which seven are Fuchsia (SG$10,000) sponsors, 15 are Coral sponsors (SG$5,000) and 97 are in the Rose tier (SG$1,000). This was a staggering increase compared to the five local sponsors from last year.

Support from local brands quickly poured in after MHA’s 2016 reiteration to ban foreign involvement in Pink Dot. By March 2017, 50 locally-based brands already stepped up showing their monetary support.

Most recently, Pink Dot 2017 ad placement found in Cathay Cineleisure sparked police reports from netizens against the LGBTQ event in Singapore. This led to the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) later weighing in on the matter, asking for the statement "Supporting the freedom to love" to be amended.

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