Organisers of a “sugar babies” themed party during the Singapore Grand Prix have pulled the event from a line-up of Formula One events due to the controversial nature of the sponsor Sugarbook, a dating platform catering to “sugar daddies”.
Sugarbook’s party was originally part of the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB’s) Grand Prix Season Singapore, a series of F1-themed events held outside of the race track during the Grand Prix period.
The Malaysia-based sugar dating platform is one of the sponsors of the Sky Grande Prix, a five-night event at Grand Hyatt hotel organised by Singapore-based luxury lifestyle marketing agency and digital magazine Vanilla Luxury.
Jean Ng, director of sports at STB, said on Friday (7 September) in response to queries from Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore, “STB and Vanilla Luxury, the organiser of Sky Grandé Prix, have mutually agreed that the event will not be part of Grand Prix Season Singapore (GPSS) this year. STB will thus be focusing on other events in the final stretch of our GPSS campaign in the lead up to the race.”
Ng told the Straits Times earlier that STB did not organise or support the Sugarbook event.
The one-night after-party called “The Fast Lane – A Party Full of Sugar” will still go ahead on 14 September before the Formula One race weekend, but will no longer be associated with the Grand Prix.
Sugarbook provides an avenue for “sugar babies” – usually young women – to connect with “sugar daddies” – usually wealthy middle aged men – who are willing to pay for their upkeep in return for companionship.
The party at the Martini Bar of the Grand Hyatt invites guests to mingle with “sugar babies” and “sugar daddies”.
Guests will play games of Blackjack against Sugarbook representatives for the chance to win free Premium memberships and alcohol shots.
Sugarbook’s Chief Executive Officer Darren Chan said in a press release on 16 August that it hopes that the party will “show a better insight into the world of sugar dating”.
“Get up close and personal with Sugar Babies or meet your next Sugar Daddy in person at this lavish soiree – buy a drink or two for the Sugar Babies and dance the night away. After all, girls just want to have funds!” said Chan, who will be present at the party.
Founded in 2017, the dating platform claims to help its over 200,000 members globally facilitate “honest and transparent” relationships with affluent members worldwide.
Sugarbook received strong condemnation from the Singapore Parliament earlier this year, with several Members of Parliament expressing concerns that it would expose young women to potential emotional and sexual exploitation from much older men.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said that the government objects to websites such as Sugarbook, which it said “undermine families and societies”.
“Young women may feel pressurised to comply with their wishes or demands and risk physical or sexual harm if they’re rejected,” Lee said.
He added that the police will keep a close eye on the website, as well as the individuals who use its services.
“For instance, if there is any procurement of sexual services for payment, the police will take enforcement action under the Women’s Charter, including possibly against the website and its owner,” Lee said.
Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore has reached out to Sugarbook for comment.
In separate news, F1’s Singapore sponsor, Singapore Airlines, said it will continue to feature its iconic cabin crew as grid girls in this year’s edition of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, despite the global race organiser saying that the practice is outdated.
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