Adidas is the latest company to come under fire for working with LGBTQ+ models after the sportswear brand released its new Pride swimsuit campaign.
Social media users slammed the company’s choice on one model advertising a $70 women’s swimsuit, with critics saying Adidas was trying to “erase women.”
The company on Monday announced its latest collaboration with South African designer Rich Mnisi as the Let Love Be Your Legacy collection and part of the company’s Pride 2023 campaign. The apparel brand highlighted its partnership with the LGBTQ+ designer as a “shared ambition to encourage allyship and freedom of expression without bias, in all spaces of sport and culture.”
After the announcement sparked criticism, Adidas joined Bud Light, Miller Lite, Target and more in the wave of right-wing condemnation as conservatives accuse companies of alienating their customer base by working with the LGBTQ+ community.
Newsweek has reached out via email to Adidas representatives for comment.
Bud Light’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney ignited a boycott that sent the popular beer brand’s sales nosediving for multiple weeks last month and continues to trouble the company. Protests of Bud Light and parent company Anheuser-Busch began after Bud Light sent a commemorative can to Mulvaney to mark her first year of transitioning to a woman. However, many LGBTQ+ advocates have criticized the company for not defending its ties with the influencer, who has more than 10 million TikTok followers.
Adidas and Bud Light are not the only brands to become the target of conservatives’ ire over marketing that advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. Multiple social media users recently took aim at Miller Lite over what they dubbed “woke” advertising, and Target’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month line sparked calls for the retailer to receive “the Bud Light treatment.”
In February, social media users called for a boycott of Hershey’s products over the candy maker’s decision to include a transgender woman in its International Women’s Day advertising campaign in Canada.
Now, conservative Twitter users are assailing Adidas after many took issue with one of the models in the new Pride campaign.
Riley Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer who first garnered national attention after competing against transgender athlete Lia Thomas, weighed in with a Wednesday Twitter post, saying: “Women’s swimsuits arent [sic] accessorized with a bulge.”
“I dont [sic] understand why companies are voluntarily doing this to themselves,” she said on Twitter. “They could have at least said the suit is “unisex”, but they didn’t because its [sic] about erasing women. Ever wondered why we hardly see this go the other way?”
Gaines has clashed with the LGBTQ+ community in the past, including criticizing swim rival Thomas and the “trajectory” of women’s sports. The former college athlete was also confronted by trans rights protesters last month at San Francisco State University while attending a Turning Point USA event.
Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene slammed Adidas, accusing the company of alienating women.
“Who is telling these major corporations to alienate women, half the population, in order to market to trans which are less than 1%? Businesses are for profit, not for politics. It doesn’t make sense. Who is telling them to do this,” the firebrand Republican said on Twitter.
Representative Nancy Mace also mocked the campaign.
“I’m old enough to remember when women actually modeled women’s bathing suits, not men,” the South Carolina Republican said on Twitter.
Despite the criticism on Twitter, many social media users applauded the company’s decision to be inclusive despite other companies taking heat for similar efforts.
Mnisi described his collection as “a symbol for self-acceptance and LGBTQ+ advocacy.”
“My hope is this range inspires LGBTQ+ allies to speak up more for the queer people they love and not let them fight for acceptance alone,” the designer said in a joint statement with Adidas.