Malaysia bans LGBT-themed watches

Muslim-majority country moves to ban Swatch’s LGBT-themed watches, calling them “harmful to morality,” with jail term up to three years for violators.

By World Israel News Staff

Malaysia has banned an LGBT-themed watch line, arguing that the rainbow-colored wristwatches from Swatch’s Pride Collection are “harmful to morality.”

The Muslim-majority country imposed the sweeping ban recently, CNN reported Thursday, prohibiting not only the importing, distribution, and sale of the watches, but also wearing the watches or related accessories.

Violators of the new ban could face up to three years in prison and fines of up to $4,375 if convicted.

“Swatch products have been banned as they are detrimental, or possibly detrimental, to morality, the public interest and national interest by promoting, supporting and normalizing the LGBTQ movement which is not accepted by the general public of Malaysia,” Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs said Thursday.

“The Malaysian government states again its commitment to ensuring public safety and peace by monitoring and controlling all forms of publications to curb the spread of elements, teachings and movements that contradict the local socio-cultural setup.”

In May, Malaysian police conducted raids across the country against stores selling Swatch brand watches, confiscating 172 items from the company’s 2023 Pride Collection.

Swatch executives protested the raids, denying the rainbow-colored watch line was meant as a political message.

“We strongly contest that our collection of watches using rainbow colors and having a message of peace and love could be harmful for whomever,” wrote Swatch CEO Nick Hayek Jr.

“On the contrary, Swatch always promotes a positive message of joy in life. This is nothing political. We wonder how the Malaysian government will confiscate the many beautiful natural rainbows that show up in the skies above Malaysia.”