‘It’s all about a mother’s love’: Singapore drag queen on ad Samsung gave into haters over

At left, drag queen Vyla Virus in boy form, and in queen form with mum in a now-removed Samsung advert, at right. Images: Vyla Virus/Instagram, Samsung
At left, drag queen Vyla Virus in boy form, and in queen form with mum in a now-removed Samsung advert, at right. Images: Vyla Virus/Instagram, Samsung

Samsung gave in to haters and removed an ad campaign featuring a real-life mother and her drag queen son – but he wants the world to know they’re OK.

A drag performer known as Vyla Virus said last night that the advert removed Wednesday was nothing more than a display of a mother’s unconditional love for her child. The tech company gave in to public pressure under complaints from those offended by the sight of the performer in drag exchanging a hug with his hijab-wearing mother.

“It’s all about mother’s love in that video, nothing else was mentioned but nonetheless thank you so much for the concern and I love you guys so much. Do spread the love. Love is love,” he said in a video out of costume. 

The 4-minute spot launched last month to promote Samsung’s noise-canceling Galaxy Buds2 and Galaxy Watch4.

Vyla Virus and his 60-year-old mother, known only as Zainab, were among four pairs featured showing their appreciation for one another under their slogan “Listen to your Heart.” 

“Dear mother, not many will have such an understanding and open-minded mum like you, and my heart can’t thank you enough. You are just unbothered having people looking or judging you differently, having a son that does drag,” Vyla said in the video, adding that the “most precious and proudest moment” was when mom watched him perform as Vyla.

Samsung said Wednesday that it crumpled like a paper cup after receiving feedback from viewers who thought the ad was “insensitive and offensive to some members of our local community.” Instead of standing up for its message, it buckled and removed the video. 

“We acknowledge that we have fallen short in this instance, and have since removed the content from all public platforms. We will certainly be more mindful and thorough in considering all perspectives and viewpoints for our future marketing campaigns,” a company statement said.

Vyla Virus has taken part in several drag competitions in Singapore. His performer’s name is only known to be Aliff.

LGBT activist group Pink Dot Singapore yesterday said that it was not exactly sure what reasonable pretense existed for the hate, but said the LGBT community should be able to show love for others.

“To date, it is still unclear what these people were offended by – the fact that LGBTQ+ people exist in Singapore, or that we are deserving of loving relationships, or both. LGBTQ+ people deserve love from our families, just like everyone else,” it wrote. “We should also be able to express these loving relationships freely, regardless of those who want to shame us back into silence simply because they find us offensive.”

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