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Sponsor Hugo Boss gives Joseph Schooling 'strong and unwavering' support after drug confession

SINGAPORE — Luxury fashion house Hugo Boss said that its four-year-old partnership with and support for national swimmer Joseph Schooling remains "strong and unwavering" after the Olympic champion's confession to consuming cannabis overseas earlier this year.  

A photograph of Joseph Schooling in his capacity as ambassador for luxury brand Hugo Boss.

A photograph of Joseph Schooling in his capacity as ambassador for luxury brand Hugo Boss.

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SINGAPORE — Luxury fashion house Hugo Boss said that its four-year-old partnership with and support for national swimmer Joseph Schooling remains "strong and unwavering" after the Olympic champion's confession to consuming cannabis overseas earlier this year.  

Responding to queries from TODAY, managing director of Hugo Boss Southeast Asia, Mr Steven Lam, said on Wednesday (Aug 31) that while Schooling had "made a mistake... what's important is that he has taken ownership of it". 

"Over the years, he has always been a positive influence in and out of the pool. He has inspired many kids to believe in themselves, to work hard and to chase their dreams," Mr Lam added. 

"It will be a long road ahead for Joseph but we believe he will now show us how he will make good his promise to rebuild the trust with the people who believe in him.

"Our partnership and support for Joseph remains strong and unwavering," he added. 

Schooling, who has been sponsored by the brand since 2018, had confessed to have consumed cannabis overseas in May 2022, when he was on short-term disruption from full-time National Service to train and participate in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Schooling has apologised for his actions, saying that he gave in to "a moment of weakness after going through a very tough period of my life" and pledging to "make amends and right what is wrong".

Other brands reportedly sponsoring the 27-year-old include DBS Bank, Toyota, Yakult, Milo and Tag Heuer.

In response to TODAY's queries, Nestle, the parent company of Milo, said on Wednesday that its endorsement agreement with Schooling, which started in 2017, had ended in 2020. 

"We recognise and continue to acknowledge his contributions to Singapore as Singapore’s first Olympic gold medallist," said a Nestle spokesman. "Furthermore, he has been instrumental in motivating athletes in the sports scene."

"We acknowledge his transparency on this incident and his commitment to take action and remain an inspiring model for all Singaporeans."

DBS had said on Tuesday that its sponsorship agreement with Schooling, that began in 2018, ended last year before he was enlisted for National Service.

Regarding Schooling's sponsorship by car maker Toyota, a spokesman from Borneo Motors Singapore said that the sponsorship that began in 2018 had ended in June 2022. TODAY understands that the end of the sponsorship was due to the expiration of the sponsorship contract. 

When contacted, a spokesman from dairy product firm Yakult Singapore also told TODAY that the sponsorship contract it had with Schooling since 2018 had ended in 2020. 

TODAY has sought comment from Tag Heuer but the luxury watch brand has yet to respond. 

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Joseph Schooling sponsor cannabis national swimmer

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