Ikea to continue with magic show tie-up

Ikea to continue with magic show tie-up

Furniture retailer Ikea Singapore will not pull out of a tie-up with a magic show that features a pastor known for his views against homosexuality.

Despite opposition from gay rights activists, Ikea Singapore said after a one-day review that it would continue to offer members of its loyalty programme discounted rates for Vision.

This is a magic show featuring pastor Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church and his daughter Priscilla.

Mr Khong is known for his outspoken views against homosexuals and support for a controversial law that criminalises gay sex.

The decision to continue the promotion comes after a thorough review, said Ikea Singapore in a statement yesterday.

It said: "We have spoken directly with the organisers, reviewed the content and confirmed that the Vision show offers high family entertainment value and, on that basis, we are continuing our promotional collaboration."

Vision will be held at the Esplanade in July.

Ikea Singapore spokesman Sandra Keasberry later told The Straits Times that the furniture retailer reviewed all the promotions under its membership programme, not just the one that offers a discount for Vision.

These include discounts for fengshui consultation, pest management services from Rentokill and tickets to theatre company Wild Rice's Public Enemy production.

"We stick by all our partners as they provide good value and good entertainment," she said.

In its statement, Ikea added that it respects the diversity and equality of all people in the community.

"We also respect that all individuals have a right to their opinions and personal choices, including the freedom to choose their preferred entertainment."

The company thanked customers for their patience as it deliberated over an issue that had "raised sensitivities in our community".

The decision drew both cheers and criticism on Ikea Singapore's Facebook page last night.

There were netizens who applauded Ikea for "not bowing to pressure".

But others were disappointed as the company, which is headquartered in Sweden, had said in the past that it prides itself on inclusivity.

Gateway Entertainment, the media arm of Mr Khong's church that is producing the show, said yesterday that it would not be responding to queries on the matter.

asyiqins@sph.com.sg rachelay@sph.com.sg

This article was first published on April 22, 2015.
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