Controversy Erupts Over Male Model in Slinky Swimsuit

Some threaten to boycott the Moana Bikini brand
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 3:00 AM CST
Updated Jan 28, 2024 4:15 PM CST
Some Threaten Boycott of Bikini Brand Over Male Model
Stock photo.   (Getty Images / Liudmila Chernetska)

An Australian bikini company launched a firestorm over the weekend when it posted video of a male model wearing one if its slinky swimsuits. "OBSESSED WITH THIS LOOK," reads the caption of the Instagram post. "Moana Babe @jakeytho in our SUGAR SLINKY ONE-PIECE!" Not surprisingly, controversy erupted, with some commenters saying they'd stop supporting the brand and others comparing the situation to Bud Light's partnership with a trans influencer. Moana model Jake Young made it clear in the comments that he's not a woman, but the bikini brand did note in its own responses to comments that he is gay, USA Today reports. "If people aren't happy with this individual post of a proud, gay man wearing a piece of clothing he feels confident in… they can just keep scrolling or unfollow, can't they?" the company says.

The company remained unapologetic in a lengthy statement to Fox News that noted, "We find it quite absurd that people would cherry-pick this one, individual post from our 12 years of business to make a wild statement about us not being empowering to women." The problem, the statement continues, is not with the post being insulting to women but with the incensed commenters being homophobic. Moana Bikini also doubled down by quickly posting another image of Young, this time in the bottom half of one of its bikinis. Some of the commenters on that post accused the brand of exploiting Young as part of a publicity stunt, but support could be found as well: "Women aren't the only ones who wear bikinis yall. No need to have a fit," wrote one commenter. (More Instagram stories.)

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