Adidas is being slammed for a recent Pride ad campaign featuring LGBTQ+ models.
Social media users called out the sportswear brand for advertising a women’s swimsuit being worn by what people have assumed to be a biological male. The ad was part of Adidas’ Pride 2023 collaboration with South African queer designer Rich Mnisi.
“With a shared ambition to encourage allyship and freedom of expression without bias, in all spaces of sport and culture, the adidas x RICH MNISI range of apparel and footwear spans both lifestyle and performance featuring signature silhouettes across adidas Originals, football, cycling, Sportswear and swim.” read a release announcing the collaboration.
Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines, an outspoken critic of transgender athletes in women’s sporting events, was one of the voices to comment on the new campaign, accusing the brand of “erasing women,”
I dont understand why companies are voluntarily doing this to themselves. They could have at least said the suit is "unisex", but they didn't because its about erasing women. Ever wondered why we hardly see this go the other way?
Women's swimsuits arent accessorized with a bulge https://t.co/ysHK8e5H9l
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) May 17, 2023
In a statement, Adidas said the collection is meant to “celebrate freedom of self-expression in all spaces of sport and culture.”
“This is reflected in a diverse line of models who bring the spirit of this collection to life,” the company added. “As one of the first brands to work in collaboration with LGBTQIA+ communities and as we’ve been doing for a number of years now, Adidas supports Pride and the celebration of many diverse communities around the world.”
This isn’t the first controversial ad campaign from Adidas. Last February, the sportswear brand displayed the bare breasts of 25 women in an advertising campaign for its sports bras.
Adidas shared the image on Twitter with the caption: “We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort. Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.” Adidas also shared a similar photo in a poster format with the nipples blurred out. An independent advertising regulator in the UK banned the campaign.
Nike recently faced similar backlash when it partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in a marketing campaign for Nike women. Bud Light partnered with Mulvaney on a campaign and faced similar backlash.