Who’d have thought that Addison Rae, perpetual ray of sunshine that she is, would ever offend conservative Christian morals? The impossible has happened, however, as Rae, adidas, and Praying became the center of a biblical firestorm.
Let’s start from the top.
TikTok celeb Addison Rae and Praying uploaded images to their Instagram pages on August 3 to promote Praying’s forthcoming adidas collaboration. In the imagery, Rae wore Praying’s signature “Holy Trinity” bikini, which is exactly what you think it is: “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit” printed across the bikini’s top and bottom.
It was ostensibly a bit of promotion for Praying’s adidas Supernova Cushion 7 sneaker collab but spiraled into so much more.
Almost immediately, Christian commenters began pantomiming the overexaggerated indignation typical of majority groups provoked by a piece of clothing — cough, Satan Shoe, cough — launching into furious diatribes in the comment section.
Rae and Praying deleted the adidas ads from their respective Instagram pages but, rather than turn the other cheek, folks kept the bile spewing onto other posts.
Especially on Praying’s Instagram page, where the indie brand promotes its ironic T-shirts and baby doll dresses, people came out en masse to moan, “This is so wrong,” “It’s definitely giving blasphemy,” and, on another post spotlighting the Holy Trinity bikini, “This is WAY out of line, and extremely disrespectful!”
The vitriol has spilled over to adidas’ own Instagram page, where comments range from “never wearing yall again” and “No wonder Kanye wanted to leave adidas” — there are probably other reasons but yeah sure — to inarticulate all-caps screeching.
“THATS WHY YALL ON YALL DOWNFALL NOW WHOEVER CAME UP WITH IDEA NEEDA GET FIRED ASAP CAUSE THEY DEFINITELY JUST PUT THE COMPANY IN BANKRUPT,” someone said, apparently assuming that Addison Rae’s Praying x adidas ad would singlehandedly tank a multi-billion-dollar business.
Highsnobiety has reached out to adidas for comment.
Rae, meanwhile, has escaped much of the inflated aggression on Instagram, but her TikTok page was rife with grousing.
There, folks offered insightful tidbits like “Jesus is king,” “Just sad bro,” and “we was all rooting for you, how dare you,” as if Rae had announced her new role as a satanic high priest instead of simply wearing a bikini.
The weight of the backlash appears to be really impacting Rae, who was snapped by paparazzi on her way from daily pilates.
Rae, normally beaming, wore a dark hat pulled down low and muted clothes that reflected a stormier mood.
The funny thing is that all this outrage plays into Praying’s game. With drama, especially moral panic, comes more attention and thus more money. Hey, it worked for Travis Scott.
For example, I’m not sure if the Holy Trinity bikini was already front page on Praying’s website or if it moved the set there in an enterprising move to capitalize on the drama but it’s good timing either way.
On the other hand, beef is rare for the sunny Addison Rae, whose entire brand is built around channeling goofy charm.
“One thing about me that surprises people is that I am just as happy as I am in the pictures,” she recently told Highsnobiety.
“I try to always be positive, and people think that’s not real. No matter what situation I’ve been in my entire life, good or bad, I’ve always [known] that things pass and get better.”
I’d say the same is applicable here.
Just like every moral affront that takes over social media, this too shall pass and Rae, adidas, and Praying will eventually be just fine. These generalized harassment campaigns always run out of steam as the proponents find something else to grouch about.
Really, the part that surprises me most is the sheer volume of complaints that flooded the internet. Not to get into a theological debate or anything, of course, but it’s strange.
Like the people acting as if they’re personally being persecuted for their Christian identities (Rae hasn’t publicly commented much on religion but various celebrity statistic websites report that Rae’s family is Christian).
About 63% of Americans identify as Christian according to a 2020 poll, which is a pretty huge amount of people. In fact, it’s not unfair to say that Christianity is, generally, the dominant religion in America and still informs much of its legislation.
Yet, there are still people complaining that it was unfair for Rae to “target” Christians, as if this was some kind of specific attack upon their religious beliefs.
The commodification of Christian imagery isn’t inherently blasphemous, so it can’t just be that they’re mad about seeing the Holy Trinity bikini itself, right? Or at least they shouldn’t be mad about a printed swimsuit or else they ought to be equally offended at Kanye’s merch and Justin Bieber’s “Holy” T-shirt.
Instead, it’s presumably the context of Praying’s Holy Trinity bikini that has folks triggered. Is it so bad that a few words are printed atop the parts of a woman’s body that society sexualizes and shames equally?
But how many folks really get upset over people wearing ironic “Jesus Loves Me” T-shirts?
This, in particular, feels less like a case of true sacrilege and more like social media-obsessed individuals seizing an opportunity to feign hurt for a taste of delicious righteous indignation.
Perhaps people should ask themselves, WWJD? Would the big man really be cool with a bunch of randos going after a 21-year-old through hateful Instagram and Tiktok comments?