Malaysian authorities raided Swiss watchmaker Swatch stores and removed Pride themed merchandise. According to reports from NBC News, on May 13 and 14 authorities entered various Swatch stores around the country to remove multi-colored watches.
In response, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek Jr. released a statement reaffirming the company’s alliance with the LGBTQ+ community: “Swatch always promotes a positive message of joy in life. This is nothing political. We wonder how the Regulatory and Enforcement Division of the Home Ministry will confiscate the many beautiful natural rainbows that are showing up a thousand times a year in the sky of Malaysia.”
In conservative Malaysia, engaging in same-sex relations are still illegal and often receives punitive responses such as caning or extended terms in prison.
Since the seizure, Swatch has resumed selling the multi-colored watches and has claimed that its legal team is looking into the matter.
Many companies have been receiving backlash for their LGBTQ+ merchandising as Pride Month in the U.S. continues. Some have even gone as far to remove Pride-themed products from their shelves, and have received criticism from LGBTQ+ communities and allies for their cowardice.