A United Kingdom-based regulator has banned an album poster of pop singer and actress Demi Lovato after it was deemed offensive to Christians.
According to The Christian Post, The Advertising Standards Authority, a watchdog agency that regulates advertising, received four complaints about ads by Universal Music Operations for Demi Lovato's new album.
The banner was removed in Aug. 2022 after being on display at six different sites in London. In that same month, Lovato released the album, and it made No. 1 on Billboard's top rock and alternative albums charts.
The watchdog noted that the album title implies the use of a swear word while the cover includes an image of Lovato in a bondage-style outfit as she lay upon a large, cushioned cross.
Following an investigation, the ASA found that the ad violated the CAP code because "ads must be prepared with a sense of responsibility and must not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offense."
"We considered that the image of Lovato bound up in a bondage-style outfit whilst 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, together with the reference to Holy Fv**," the agency wrote.
"In that context, [the poster] was likely to be viewed as linking sexuality to the sacred symbol of the crucifix and the crucifixion, [and] was likely to cause serious offense to Christians."
The ASA contended that using the album's title, Holy Fv**, in the ad would be offensive to adults and children. Complainants also questioned whether the placement of the album poster at the London sites was done recklessly.
"We considered the ad was likely to be seen as referring to a swear word that many would find offensive and had appeared in an untargeted medium and public place where children were also likely to see it," the ASA stated.
"We considered the ad likely to result in serious and widespread offense and had been targeted irresponsibly."
In response to the complaints, Polydor Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd, defended the album and poster, saying that "the poster primarily included the artwork from Lovato's newly released LP and was designed to promote the album." Polydor Records also "did not believe the poster would cause serious or widespread offense."
Prior to posting the banner at the sites, Polydor Records allegedly informed the agency that the ads were appropriate and were given the approval to publish them.
However, ASA's recent ruling declared that "the ad must not appear again in the form complained of unless it was suitably targeted." The agency also "told Universal Music Operations Ltd to ensure their ads did not cause serious or widespread offense in the future."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Adam Glanzman/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.