After stirring up controversy for lyrics deemed pro-rape, Reebok has decided to end their partnership with Rick Ross.
“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. 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,” Reebok said in a statement to Billboard.
Rick Ross has been under fire for his controversial lyrics on Rocko’s song, “U.O.E.N.O.” “Put molly all in her champagne/she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that/she ain’t even know it,” he raps.
Rocko told Hot 97 on Tuesday (April 9) that he will release a version of “U.O.E.N.O.” without Rick Ross’ verse. “With all respect to the homie Ross… It’s a Catch-22,” Rocko said. “I don’t want to take him off. But one thing that’s set in stone is he’s always going to be on that song. It doesn’t matter who I put on the song, that’s going to always be the original version. It’s not like I can do another version and call it the original.”
The rapper took to Twitter last Thursday (April 4) — the same day women’s group, UltraViolet, planned a protest outside of Reebok’s flagship store in NYC — to apologize. “I dont condone rape.Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS,” he tweeted. Rick Ross continued to apologize to Reebok and UltraViolet, “Apologies to my many business partners,who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet.”
Update: UltraViolet has responded to Reebok’s decision to drop Rick Ross. “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,” says UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary in a statement.