Youth ministry leader Janae Poulin is the latest in a long line of youth ministry leaders to find themselves in hot water after sharing photos on social media of themselves with the hashtag #RudeUncle.
The tweets, which have since been deleted, show Poulyn wearing the same pair of Nike sneakers she’s using on social, along with a caption saying “nike shoes” in red.
The comments drew ire on Twitter, with many people calling out Pouline for her choice of footwear, calling it inappropriate.
In response to the outcry, the youth ministry announced that it would no longer be using the hashtag.
“Our ministry is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and building the positive social environment for youth through the use of the #RudyUncle hashtag,” said Pouln.
“We have decided to stop using the #ridetoads hashtag.
Instead, we will be using more appropriate language and will continue to work with the youth in our ministry.”
Poulin later deleted the tweets, but not before they had been shared thousands of times.
“This is a good decision, because we don’t have the resources to keep up with all the tweets we receive,” she said.
“And we hope that those who are offended will feel more comfortable sharing their experience with us, so we can learn from it.”
Punitive social media shaming and bullying can have serious repercussions on young people.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s report on youth, about a third of students experience harassment or bullying, and nearly half of them say they have experienced physical or verbal abuse.
Pouline said that the #rentarsextreme youth hashtag was “just a reaction to the negativity and negative reactions to our images” and that she didn’t intend to offend anyone.
“If you don’t want to wear a pair of shoes that are not approved by Nike, you don, and we can make that clear,” she added.