Who would have thought that Addison Rae, perpetual ray of sunshine that she is, would ever offend conservative Christian morality? The impossible happened, however, as Rae, adidas and Praying became the center of a biblical firestorm.
Let’s start at the top.
TikTok celebrity Addison Rae and Praying uploaded images to their Instagram pages on August 3 to promote Praying’s upcoming adidas collaboration. In the pictures, Rae was wearing Praying’s signature “Holy Trinity” bikini, which is exactly what you’d think it is: “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit” printed on the top and bottom of the bikini .
It was ostensibly a bit of promotion for Praying’s adidas Supernova Cushion 7 sneaker collaboration, but it turned into so much more.
Almost immediately, Christian commentators began mimicking the exaggerated outrage typical of majority groups over a garment — the cough, Satan Shoe, the cough — launching into furious rants in the comments section.
Rae and Praying removed adidas ads from their respective Instagram pages but, rather than turn the other cheek, people continued to spit bile on other posts.
Especially on Praying’s Instagram page, where the indie brand promotes its tongue-in-cheek tees and doll dresses, people flocked in to moan: “That’s so wrong,” “That’s definitely a blasphemy” and, on another post highlighting Bikini Holy Trinity, “This is REALLY irrelevant and extremely disrespectful!”
The vitriol spilled over into adidas’ own PageInstagramwhere the comments range from “never wear yall again” and “no wonder Kanye wants to quit adidas” – there are probably other reasons but yes of course – to inarticulate cries in all caps.
“THIS WHY YALL ON YALL DOWNFALL NOW WHOEVER GOT THE IDEA NEEDED TO BE FIRED ASAP AS THEY JUST JUST PUT THE COMPANY INTO BANKRUPT,” someone said, apparently assuming the ad Praying x Addison Rae’s adidas would be a multi-billion dollar company on its own.
Highsnobiety has reached out to adidas for comment.
Rae, meanwhile, escaped much of the inflated aggression on Instagram, but her TikTok page was full of growls.
There, people offered insightful tidbits like “Jesus is king,” “Just sad brother” and “we were all rooting for you, how dare you,” as if Rae announced his new role as high priest. satanic instead of just wearing a bikini.
The weight of the backlash appears to be having a real impact on Rae, who was taken by paparazzi as she returned from daily pilates.
Rae, normally beaming, wore a dark hat pulled down and understated clothing that reflected a more stormy mood.
The funny thing is, all that outrage plays into Praying’s game. With drama, especially moral panic, comes more attention and therefore more money. Hey, it worked for Travis Scott.
For example, I don’t know if the Holy Trinity bikini was already on the front page on The Pray website or if he moved the setting there in an enterprising move to capitalize on the drama, but it’s a good time either way.
Pray had trolls boiling on August 4 with a cheeky post that includes a Bible quote all its own. He also posted Instagram stories of people wearing the Holy Trinity bikini throughout the day.
The comments section was as dire as expected, although some people kept a sense of humor.
While Pray may be up to the task of facing the fury head-on, controversy is rare for sunny Addison Rae, whose entire brand rests on her divine charm. In front of previous firestormsshe overcame them head on and came out the other side almost unscathed.
“One thing about me that surprises people is that I’m as happy as the pictures are,” she recently told Highsnobiety.
“I try to always be positive, and people think it’s not real. No matter what situation I’ve been in all my life, good or bad, I always [known] that things pass and improve.
I would say it’s the same here.
Like any moral affront that grips social media, this too will pass and Rae, adidas and Praying will ultimately be fine. These widespread harassment campaigns always run out of steam as promoters find something else to complain about.
Really, the part that surprises me the most is the sheer volume of complaints that have flooded the internet. Not to get into a theological debate or anything, of course, but it’s weird.
Like people who act like they’re personally persecuted for their Christian identity (Rae hasn’t commented much publicly on religion, but various celebrity stats websites report that Rae’s family is Christian).
About 63% of Americans identify as a Christian according to a 2020 poll, which represents quite a large number of people. In fact, it’s not unfair to say that Christianity is, by and large, the dominant religion in America and still informs much of its legislation.
Yet there are still people who complain that it was unfair for Rae to “target” Christians, as if it were some sort of specific attack on their religious beliefs.
The commodification Christian imagery isn’t inherently blasphemous, so it can’t be right that they’re mad to see the Holy Trinity bikini itself, can it? Or at least they shouldn’t be crazy about a printed swimsuit or else they should be equally offended by Kanye and Justin Bieber’s products. “Holy” t-shirt.
Instead, it was probably the context of Praying’s Holy Trinity bikini that triggered people. Is it so bad that a few words are imprinted on the parts of a woman’s body that society also sexualizes and dishonours?
But how many people are really upset by people who wear tongue-in-cheek “Jesus loves me” t-shirts?
This, in particular, feels less like outright sacrilege and more like social media-obsessed individuals seizing the opportunity to feign hurt for a taste of delicious righteous indignation.
Maybe people should ask themselves, WWJD? Would the big man be really cool with a bunch of randos chasing a 21-year-old through hateful comments on Instagram and Tiktok?