The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) pulled out of marketing a controversial party hosted by Sugarbook at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite the setback, ‘The Fast Lane’ event still went ahead and Sugarbook’s CEO Darren Chan insisted that it was a success.
Sugarbook is a controversial platform because the authorities sometimes view it as a form of prostitution, encouraging wealthy men to pay for relationships with young women.
The party was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, as part of a five-day promotional event called the Sky Grande Prix. The F1-themed parties were being run by the STB, but the organisation claimed it didn’t know the sugar dating website was one of the sponsors.
Chan told the South China Morning Post: “At first, [the tourism board] were OK with sponsoring the whole event, then the media frenzy happened and they wanted to pull out.
“I totally understand because [the tourism board] have to do what’s best for the country. If I [were the tourism board] and if I thought the brand was controversial, I would have [made] the same decision.
“But we are here to have a good time, no hanky-panky, nothing to worry about.”
The backlash may have actually been good for business. Several attendees at the party said they heard about it from the news that the STB had chosen to withdraw.
Chan is planning to host more meetup events in Thailand, Indonesia and China. He also wants to open an office in Hong Kong by the end of 2018.
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