A poster created to promote Demi Lovato's 2022 album Holy Fvck has been banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), due to 'blasphemy'.
The promotional material sees the pop-turned-rock vocalist tied up, simulating BDSM activity while lying down on a large, crucifix-shaped cushion - the same image of which was used for the main album artwork.
The posters were displayed in six locations across London but were shortly taken down four days later on August 23 at the ASA's request, in part because they were “likely to cause offence to Christians".
Reportedly, the company ruled that the advertisement would cause “serious or widespread offence” and that the inclusion of the play-on-words of "holy fvck" (holy fuck) was “irresponsibly placed where children could see it”.
The ruling states, “We [ASA] considered that the image of Lovato bound up in a bondage-style outfit while lying on a mattress shaped like a crucifix, in a position with her legs bound to one side, was reminiscent of Christ on the cross".
As per The Drum's reporting, Polydor Records, who were responsible for Lovato's campaign in the UK, argued that they did not believe the material would be offensive, revealing that they had also "checked" with an ad agency to confirm that it would be acceptable for public viewing.
Humanist UK, an organisation who work on "bringing non-religious people together to help them develop their own views and an understanding of the world around them" have also hit back at the ban, suggesting that it is "stifling of the right to freedom of expression".
Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy, Richy Thompson, declares in a statement: “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“It’s been fifteen years since anti-blasphemy laws in England and Wales were repealed, yet since then the ASA has continued to enforce a de facto ban on blasphemy by banning adverts for this reason. This is an unacceptable stifling of the right to freedom of expression.”
Check out the poster below:
A raunchy poster for @ddlovato's upcoming album Holy Fvck gets banned by ad regulator. Find out why 👀👉https://t.co/TlNNkizW6EDo you think this ad is too controversial?#DemiLovato #HolyFvck #Advertising pic.twitter.com/x3b7Ozn1g8January 11, 2023