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Demi Lovato poster banned in UK for being offensive to Christians

The ad for her eighth album appeared across London last year

By Joe Goggins

Demi Lovato in a YouTube interview, 2022
Lovato released her eighth album last August. (Photo: YouTube)

Demi Lovato has fallen foul of the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a potentially blasphemous poster.

Last summer, an image to promote her eighth studio album, Holy Fvck, appeared across London and provoked four complaints to the ASA; it featured Lovato in a bondage-style outfit, reclining on a crucifix-shaped cushion. The same photo appears on the cover of the record. Now, those complaints have been upheld, with the ASA saying that, taken together with the title of the album, the image was “likely to be viewed as linking sexuality to the sacred symbol of the crucifix and the crucifixion”.

That, it said, was likely to cause serious offence to Christians, and thus the poster has been banned. It was originally withdrawn in August of last year following the complaints. Polydor Records said that the poster was only intended to promote Holy Fvck and that they did not believe it was offensive.

The ASA described it as featuring an “image of Ms Lovato bound up in a bondage-style outfit whilst lying on a mattress shaped like a crucifix,” adding that she appears “in a position with her legs bound to one side which was reminiscent of Christ on the cross.” The advertisement appeared in six different London locations before its removal on August 23, and some of the complaints to the ASA took issue with their placement, claiming that they would be visible to children. 

The watchdog said that its had “considered that the ad was likely to result in serious and widespread offence and had been targeted irresponsibly”, finding that it would be clear to most who saw it that the album title made reference to a swear word.

In response, Polydor has sought to deflect blame towards Brotherhood Media, the advertising agency responsible for the campaign, claiming that they had received assurances from the firm that the locations chosen were suitable for the poster. Brotherhood have yet to comment.

Holy Fvck peaked at number 7 on both the UK and US charts upon release last august. The album charts Lovato’s tumultuous recent journey with addiction and mental health struggles.