Hong Kong: MTR Corp. and Airport Authority reverse ban on Cathay Pacific's same-sex ad amid criticisms

Author: Danny Lee, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Published on: 21 May 2019

“Hong Kong’s Airport Authority joins MTR Corp in reversing ban on Cathay Pacific same-sex ad after LGBT outcry”, 21 May 2019

Hong Kong’s airport operator has followed its railway counterpart in reversing a ban on a Cathay Pacific advertisement featuring a same-sex couple. The Airport Authority overturned its position… hours after a reversal by the MTR Corporation. In a statement, the authority, which operates Hong Kong International Airport, said the advert did not breach the company’s “established guidelines”, but refused to disclose that exact criteria...

Hong Kong’s railway operator had pulled a U-turn… instructing its French advertising handler, JCDecaux, to reflect its position on equal opportunities and diversity by allowing the same-sex advert to be displayed at metro stations across the city...The reversals came in the face of heated criticism of the ban…after the Post revealed that both the railway giant and Hong Kong International Airport had banned the advert because of its same-sex content.

 “We have been in contact with the relevant advertising agency and have just confirmed to the agency that the advertisement in question can be displayed at MTR stations,” a JCDecaux spokeswoman said in a statement.

The MTR Corp initially deflected the decision to ban the advert back on the French agency, despite JCDecaux following the railway giant’s advertising guidelines... it appeared that the rail operator, of which the government is a majority shareholder, had buckled under public criticism by overturning the decision.

… the MTR Corp said it “requested the agency to fully consider the corporation’s commitment to equal opportunities and diversity when it considers advertisements in the future”. The change of policy was later agreed upon. “In the future, we will pay due regard to the MTR Corporation’s commitment to equal opportunities and diversity when handling the placement of advertisement,” the JCDecaux statement said…A spokesman for Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier, said: “We welcome these decisions and we thank everyone for the support..."

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Related companies: Cathay Pacific MTR