A Cathay Pacific ad featuring two men holding hands on a beach was banned from being displayed in Hong Kong’s airport and mass transit.
Hong Kong’s Airport Authority and Mass Transit Railway (MTR) initially refused the poster showing the same-sex couple next to the slogan “move beyond labels” due to the “LGBT content,” according to the South China Morning Post.
Both have since reversed their bans on the Cathay Pacific ad, according to Bloomberg.
Hong Kong’s Airport Authority joins MTR Corp in reversing ban on Cathay Pacific same-sex ad after LGBT outcry https://t.co/T6m77WX8aG
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) May 21, 2019
A Cathay Pacific spokesman did not comment on the ad not being on display but defended its message of diversity.
“We embrace diversity and inclusion. We are very diverse and our customers are too,” the spokesman said.
The airline also said that the ad was part of a series created for the airline’s rebrand of flying “with pride for our LGBT community allies.”
A spokeswoman for MTR said advertising bookings were managed by French agency JCDecaux, which gives guidelines on the acceptability of LGBT-themed ads.
JCDecaux explained two clauses in its contract, with one stating ads would not be accepted if it depicted content that was “immoral; or which offend the generally accepted standards of public decency or the social or cultural standards of the society.”
The other bans visuals that cause “discomfort, fear, distress, embarrassment or distaste to the public.”
“The [same-sex couple] advert from Cathay Pacific came with a series of options,” a JCDecaux spokeswoman told SCMP. “Therefore alternative visuals were used in this campaign.”
Today we found out that the Hong Kong Airport Authority and MTR banned Cathay Pacific’s ads featuring a gay couple. Please join us in telling them it’s time to #MoveBeyondDiscrimination by taking a selfie at any MTR station or the airport with this hashtag. pic.twitter.com/99nPAl5yri
— Hong Kong Marriage Equality (@hkequallove) May 20, 2019
Prominent figures in the autonomous territory’s LGBT community, such as openly gay lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, called on Hong Kong’s government to follow Taiwan’s lead after it became the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.