I am writing this post at my IKEA desk that is backed by my IKEA shelves. We had dinner on our IKEA dining table using IKEA cutlery. Our books are stored in IKEA Billy bookcases. The shelves in Zoey’s playroom consists of one IKEA Expedit and one IKEA Trofast complete with storage boxes. Our t-shirts are stored in a simple IKEA closet with an IKEA mirror nailed to its front. When HDB upgraded our bathrooms recently, we headed to IKEA to pick out the new accessories. Even the clocks on our walls and the bath mats on our floors are from IKEA. I’ve been an IKEA Friend since I was 18 and become part of the IKEA Family when they revamped their membership program. A trip to IKEA has always been a treat. Whether it is chicken wings, swedish meatballs or hot dogs, I have enjoyed the simple pleasures of shopping and eating at IKEA. I especially delight in the process of putting together IKEA furniture and have been a loyal fan over the past 20 years.
So I was deeply disappointed and unhappy to find out from Sylvia at Gay Star News that IKEA Family is now supporting Lawrence Khong’s show due to take the stage in July. They are listed on the sponsors and partners page.
Lawrence Khong has publicly initiated discrimination and hate against any types of families that do not confirm to his ideal. An ideal that he intends to force down people’s throat. His blatant disregard and disrespect for fundamental human rights has been demonstrated in his attempt to rally his troops in a crusade against the LGBT community (details here) and denying one of his previous employees her salary and maternity leave because she was pregnant before her divorce was final. (details here).
IKEA was the first company to feature a same-sex couple in one of their commercials that aired in 1994, more than 20 years ago. When they had to pull a same-sex couple out of the magazine in Russia, they clearly stated that it was due to their need for compliance to the laws in Russia. In fact, they issued a response to a petition request for IKEA to support same-sex couples in Russia with the following response:
At IKEA, we believe in people
In the latest issue of our customer magazine IKEA FAMILY LIVE we ran a feature about two women, Kirsty and Clara, living in England with their child. The article appeared in 24 countries but not in Russia where a law prevents us from publishing it. It is a law that has been widely criticized but one that we have to comply with. However, we wanted to take the opportunity to speak about what the IKEA values mean and what we stand for. This is why the current online version of the magazine in 25 countries, including Russia, contains this letter from IKEA Group:
“At IKEA, we believe in people.
We are guided by our vision – to help create a better everyday life for the many people. We also believe you can be yourself as an IKEA co-worker, an IKEA customer or in your home. We do our best to stand for equal opportunities and support the human rights of all people. And every co-worker can expect fair treatment and equal opportunities whatever their ethnicity, religion, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation or age.
This guides us and inspires us when we work together with our colleagues and the people in our value chain. After all, it’s our differences that make us great!
Petra Hesser, Human Resources, & Steve Howard, Sustainability, IKEA Group”
As an employer, we work purposefully and in a structured way to promote equal rights and equal opportunities. It is part of our code of conduct for everyone working for the IKEA Group and it is also a part of our diversity and inclusion approach.
We want the way we communicate our offer in different commercial channels to mirror the world around us and we believe that publishing an article featuring a lesbian couple in 24 countries is a good example of that. In some of these countries the subject is still considered to be controversial. In the long term, we believe that we can have a positive influence on societies in the countries where we operate by constantly working based on our values.
Greg Priest, Policy & Compliance Manager, IKEA Group
IKEA has consistently supported equal rights around the world. Therefore, their support of Lawrence Khong’s show is a direct contradiction of IKEA’s values. As one of the families Lawrence Khong has condemned as evil, I am concerned that IKEA will be seen as endorsing his continued hate speech against us.
I hope that IKEA Singapore will review their partnership and channel their support to more worthy causes. I believe that the IKEA Family does not discriminate, so please do the right thing and start supporting all families.