We thought we had the necessary approvals for the ads, says Sugarbook CEO

PETALING JAYA: Sugarbook, the online dating site which recently became the centre of an advertising controversy, has come forward with a clarification on their recent series of electronic billboard advertisements

Sugarbook founder and CEO Darren Chan said that he was advised by their advertising company to go ahead with the advertisements, leading him to think that the necessary approvals had been acquired.

“We wish to be clear that Sugarbook was built to empower women by giving them a dating platform to choose freely what they want in an ideal relationship, without being scrutinized," Darren said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 18).

"Our intention is to be fully transparent that Sugarbook is about women empowerment by increasing the capacity for them to be able to choose freely."

"We hope the public understand that Sugar Babies are not illegal sex workers," Darren said.

Darren said that while he believes the public's intentions were good, he felt that it was unjust to have Sugarbook banned.

"Ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the freedoms and liberty of the Malaysian people," he said.

In a statement earlier on Wednesday, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) described the billboards - located in Bangsar and Mont Kiara - as "obscene" and "sensitive".

“The content of the Sugarbook advertisement displayed on the LED advert structure did not obtain DBKL and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan's approval.

"The LED operator has been informed of the content of the advert which is sensitive against the norms of Malaysian society, and that it must immediately remove the advert,” DBKL stated.

According to The Malaysian Insight, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil said the billboards had already been taken down on Tuesday night (Dec 17).

“I was told that the advertisements were removed between 7.30pm to 10pm,” he was quoted as saying.

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