IKEA played the PR game pretty well

This is part 2 of the IKEA and Lawrence Khong saga. Part 1 can be found here.

Essentially, IKEA has given their reply regarding the sponsorship of pastor Lawrence Khong’s evangelising magic show. The problem was not with the show itself (which IKEA promises to be wholesome family fun), but with the pastor himself, who has expressed homophobic sentiments in the past.

That debacle has led to many LGBT activists hating his guts.

So when IKEA suddenly became an unwitting accomplice to a homophobic pastor’s magic show, they had to react.

After about a day, IKEA replied on their page saying they’re going to continue supporting the show:


The majority of comments left on the page were thankful and all about dem family values:



Understandably, some people weren’t pleased with IKEA’s decision. One of them was playwright Alfian Sa’at:



The home-grown playwright is an open advocate of repealing 377A, which Lawrence Khong is fighting to keep.

He’s also a pretty controversial figure, so he may or may not be referring to himself when he calls on IKEA to not deal with controversial elements.

Real diversity shown by IKEA

Why was IKEA’s response the most appropriate for the situation? Surely someone who has displayed blatant discrimination against a minority should not be supported, but IKEA had to think about the fans who support Khong, many of whom are IKEA Family members.

Additionally, the true meaning of diversity is allowing everyone to have their place, not ostracising one group because they say things which another group doesn’t like. This goes not only for homosexuals, but also supposed anti-gays.

Therefore, IKEA’s support for Lawrence Khong’s magic show is not a slant at gay rights activists like they are claiming. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Blogger and former Straits Times journalist Bertha Henson gave the scenario where the pro-traditional family crowd might come out in a similar fashion against a pro-LGBT production:

There’s another point which the community should consider. If the boot was on the other foot and the pro-traditional family lobby comes out in force to do the same, what would it do for its cause of getting the community recognized as part of the mainstream?

This is something to consider for the activists. Pushing for their rights is one thing, but denying others their rights to enjoy a show would be counter-productive to their own agendas.

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Featured image via Lawrence Khong
With references from IKEA Singapore