An album poster showing Demi Lovato posing on a cushioned crucifix while donning a bondage-style outfit has been banned in the UK for causing offence to Christians.
The poster, seen in multiple sites across London in August, had the headline ‘DEMI LOVATO’ with ‘HOLY FVCK’ – the name of the 30-year-old star’s album written underneath it.
The poster attracted four complaints that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and was irresponsibly placed where children could see it.
It was removed after four days.
The singer was ‘in a position with her legs bound to one side which was reminiscent of Christ on the cross.’
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now said the advert must not reappear. Defending the poster, Polydor Records, a division of Universal Music, said it did not believe the poster would cause serious or widespread offence.
The label told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that it had checked that the poster was acceptable to run at the proposed sites prior to release, and had been assured that it was.
Polydor said the posters only appeared at six specific sites in London for a four-day period and were removed on August 23.
The ASA said it would have been clear to most of those who saw the poster that the ad alluded to the expression ‘holy f***’, and considered that it was likely to result in serious and widespread offence and had been targeted irresponsibly.
It said in its ruling: ‘The CAP Code (UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing) stated that ads must be prepared with a sense of responsibility and must not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
‘The ASA first assessed whether the language in the ad was likely to cause offence. ‘We considered it would be clear to most readers that the ad alluded to the expression ‘holy f***.’
‘Because 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, we considered that the ad was likely to result in serious and widespread offence and had been targeted irresponsibly.’
Together with the album title, which is a play on a swear word, the ASA found the poster was ‘likely to be viewed as linking sexuality to the sacred symbol of the crucifix and the crucifixion.’
‘This was likely to cause serious offence to Christians.’
Demi Lovato’s eighth album, released in August 2022, documents her complicated journey through alcohol and drug addiction, mental health issues, treatment and recovery.
She started writing it after a voluntary stint in rehab in December 2021 and told the BBC: ‘I’m not playing pop music anymore. This is a rock album.’