Malaysia’s government said Thursday that anyone found with a rainbow-themed timepiece by the Swiss watchmaker Swatch could face up to three years in jail.
The warning said that the watches’ LGBTQ elements posed a danger to “morality” and the public interest.
According to the AP, the ban was published in the Federal Gazette—the government’s broadsheet for public notices—by the Ministry of Home Affairs, making it official.
The order prohibits the owning or selling of products bearing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer “elements,” including not just watches, but wrappers and boxes. The government said that the offending products could “harm” the interests of the Muslim-majority nation
by promoting, supporting and normalizing the LGBTQ+ movement that is not accepted by the general public.”
In addition to a jail term, offenders could also face a fine of up to the equivalent of $4,375. This comes just over two months after authorities raided Swatch stores at 11 shopping malls in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, seizing more than 160 watches from the company’s Pride Collection.
The watchmaker “strongly” denied that its collection and its “message of peace and love” was harmful.
Malaysia's government said Thursday that anyone buying or selling LGBTQ-themed Swatch watches could face prison terms of up to three years. https://t.co/xfYqozFYbk— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 10, 2023
(photo, Swatch; via The Daily Beast)