Vatican looks into 'like' on pope's Instagram account of bikini-wearing model

Pope Francis during the weekly general audience in Apostolic Palace, at the Vatican on November 18, 2020.


By HENRY CHU | Los Angeles Times | Published: November 21, 2020

LONDON (Tribune News Service) — Who are we to judge?

The Vatican says it is investigating how Pope Francis' official Instagram account came to "like" an Instagram post of a curvaceous Brazilian model given to wearing thong bikinis and striking suggestive poses. A Vatican official insists that the like did not originate from the Holy See, the Associated Press reported Friday.

The Instagram account in question belongs to model Natalia Garibotto, who uses the handle "@nataagataa," a play on the Portuguese word "gata" (cat), which is Brazilian slang for "hottie." The photo liked by the pope's "@franciscus" account shows Garibotto dressed as a shockingly mature schoolgirl before a book-filled locker, wearing a barely-there top, a tartan miniskirt that rides much higher than any miniskirt should and white garter stockings.

"I can teach you a thing or two," the post says.

@franciscus was in good company: More than 100,000 others liked Garibotto's post as well.

Francis is, of course, famously liberal by pontifical standards; his reply of "Who am I to judge?" when he was asked about gay people made international headlines in 2013. Coincidentally or not, he made the statement on a flight back to Rome from Rio de Janeiro.

However, the Vatican is working "in close connection" with Instagram to figure out who used the @franciscus account to like Garibotto's racy photo.

The pope's Instagram account boasts 7.4 million followers but follows no one. Garibotto has a respectable 2.4 million followers (which is different from 2.4 million respectable followers).

"At least I'm going to heaven," she tweeted Nov. 13 as news of the apparent papal approval spread.


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