Reebok Fires Rick Ross for Alleged Rape Lyrics

UltraViolet protest appears to have worked

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Reebok today told rapper Rick Ross to get lost because his new song "U.O.E.N.O." cheerfully describes what seems to be a date-rape scenario. A brand spokesperson revealed via email that the one-year partnership is over.

"Reebok holds our partners to a high standard, and we expect them to live up to the values of our brand. Unfortunately, Rick Ross has failed to do so," the rep said. "While we do not believe that Rick Ross condones sexual assault, we are very disappointed he has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue or an appropriate level of remorse. At this time, it is in everyone's best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross."

The 37-year-old Ross—known for such albums as "Teflon Don"—has caused a stir in recent days due to lyrics about giving a woman the drug Ectasy and bringing her into his home: "Put Molly [Ecstasy] in all in the champagne. She ain't even know it. I took her home and I enjoy that. She ain't even know it." 

According to Billboard, the rapper apologized on Twitter last Thursday (April 4)—the same day the women's group UltraViolet planned a protest outside Reebok's flagship store in New York. "I dont condone rape.Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS," he tweeted. Ross continued to apologize to Reebok and UltraViolet, "Apologies to my many business partners,who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet."

UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary said in a statement this afternoon: "We are thrilled to hear that Reebok is joining the fight against rape culture and dropping Rick Ross. This is a huge victory for women, for the 526 survivors of rape who were brave enough to publicly confront rape culture, and for the nearly 100,000 UltraViolet members who have poured their hearts and time into this campaign. This sends a strong message that rapping about drugging and raping an unconscious woman is not only morally wrong, but has real consequences. After Steubenville, Americans expect and demand better. Thank you Reebok for taking a stand."

The episode is only the latest in Reebok's rocky relationship with women. In March of last year, it pulled ads that encouraged German guys to cheat on their girlfriends.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.
Publish date: April 11, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT