A Demi Lovato album poster which saw the singer pose on a cushioned crucifix while donning a bondage-style outfit has been banned in the UK for causing offense 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 offense and was irresponsibly placed where children could see it.
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now said the advert must not reappear.
The Demi Lovato poster found by the Advertising Standards Authority to be likely to cause serious offense to Christians
The poster attracted four complaints that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offense and was irresponsibly placed where children could see it (Pictured: Lovato performing at the Unicef Gala in New York in November 2022)
Defending the poster, Polydor Records, a division of Universal Music, said it did not believe the poster would cause serious or widespread offense.
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 offense 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 offense.
‘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 offense and had been targeted irresponsibly.
Defending the poster, Polydor Records, a division of Universal Music, said it did not believe the poster would cause serious or widespread offense (Pictured: Lovato at the Unicef Gala held at The Glasshouse in New York in November 2022)
‘We considered that the image of Ms Lovato bound up in a bondage-style outfit whilst lying on a mattress shaped like a crucifix, in a position with her legs bound to one side which was reminiscent of Christ on the cross, together with the reference to ‘holy fvck’, which in that context was likely to be viewed as linking sexuality to the sacred symbol of the crucifix and the crucifixion, which was likely to cause serious offense to Christians.
‘The ad must not appear again in the form complained of unless it was suitably targeted.’
The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in the form complained of unless it was suitably targeted, adding: ‘We told Universal Music Operations to ensure their ads did not cause serious or widespread offense in future.’
It comes after two-time Grammy nominee Lovato announced her return to the recording studio in December, just three months after the release of Holy Fvck, which was her eighth studio album.
After the record fell short of expectations, the pop star shared footage of herself looking excited to make some new music.
‘When [you’re] getting back in the studio,’ she captioned the recording as she lip synched to an audio that said: ‘Here we go! Here the f*** we go! Here the f*** we go!’
Holy Fvck was her first album to not ‘yield a Top 50 single on the Billboard Hot 100,’ according to That Grape Juice.
To make things even more disappointing, Holy Fvck dropped from the number seven spot on the charts all the way down to 120 in its second week.
Making music again: Two-time Grammy nominee Demi Lovato announced her return to the recording studio in December, just three months after the release of her eighth album, Holy Fvck
The steep decline was ‘one of the biggest falls in the 55-year history of the Billboard 200.’
Still, her emotional ballad, 29, which is widely believed to be about her former boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama, managed to peak at number 96.
In August while speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the singer spoke of how her anger, sexuality and past trauma inspired her music.
‘The team that was around me was dictating my decisions and trying to influence the direction that I was going,’ she explained.
Lovato continued: ‘I didn’t know who I was, and I had a team that was trying to force me into a direction to be this hyper-feminine pop star. And I was so unhappy doing that.’
Reflecting on her career after signing a record deal aged just 15, she continued: ‘I started to lose myself as well as myself as an artist and honestly, it didn’t reflect what was inside of me.
Pouring out her heart: In August while speaking to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the singer spoke of how her anger, sexuality and past trauma inspired her music; seen in September
‘I would get on stage, and I’d be in these leotards and these stiletto shoes that I was miserable in. And I danced. I did choreography and stuff like that, and I just wasn’t happy.’
Demi detailed the inspiration behind her upcoming album as she explained: ‘Everything that I write about comes from personal experiences, and I had gone through a rough time last year.
‘I went back to treatment, and when I came out, I had all of this unresolved trauma that I hadn’t dealt with or that I started to deal with in treatment. And then when I came out, I was like, “It’s okay to be angry and feel those things.”
She added how she found herself ‘under a microscope’ and added what advice she would give her 15-year-old self.
The singer said: ‘I would say, “You’re beautiful. You don’t need to lose weight. You don’t need to judge yourself so hard.” But I couldn’t have been able to comprehend those words at that time anyways.
‘I just was in a position where everything I did was under a microscope, and so finding myself was under a microscope as well.’