The Straits Times has apologised for causing distress to the public after they voiced concern over an ill-timed advertisement published on the front page of its July 20 edition.
A tragic incident shook the nation on Monday (July 19) as the alleged murder of a Secondary One student at River Valley High School made headlines in Singapore.
The article, titled “Sec 1 student allegedly killed by Sec 4 student in school”, reported the details of the incident including the fact that the police had seized an axe as a case exhibit.
At the bottom of the very same page showed an advertisement for Axe Brand Universal Oil.
Netizens were quick to circulate screenshots of the front page on Tuesday, calling the ad placement inappropriate and inconsiderate.
While some pointed out that the ad was likely prepared in advance, others questioned whether The Straits Times’ staff had noticed the problem before the paper was published that day.
In response to the online backlash, Axe Brand swiftly clarified in a Facebook post that it was “not intentional” but “a very unfortunate coincidence”.
They explained that the advertisement was planned and booked last December with the national paper.
“Our company is in deep sympathy and grief with the victim’s family,” said Axe Brand.
On Wednesday, The Straits Times made a public apology, saying that the “juxtaposition was inadvertent and unfortunate, in light of the tragic incident”.