Reebok Drops Rick Ross After Protest Over LyricsBy JAMES C. MCKINLEY JR.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty ImagesReebok cut its ties with the Miami rapper Rick Ross on Thursday because of a controversial track in which he boasted about drugging and raping a woman.
A statement from Reebok 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 statement said.
Mr. Ross had been a spokesman for the company, promoting its shoes in print and TV commercials. But when Mr. Ross rapped as a guest on the Rocko song “U.O.E.N.O,” released in January, he drew fire from women’s rights organizations, politicians and some other rappers.
Mr. Ross’s segment on the song contains lyrics about spiking a woman’s drink with the drug MDMA, also referred to as ecstasy or molly: “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.”
An uproar ensued. Some radio stations dropped the record from their playlists, a parents’ watchdog protested and women’s rights advocates have posted videos on YouTube objecting to the song.
For his part, Mr. Ross initially denied the lyric condoned rape, saying he had been misunderstood and noting he never uttered the word “rape.” Later, however, after a women’s rights group threatened to protest, he issued a terse apology on Twitter “for the lyric interpreted as rape.” He has yet to go beyond that statement.
Also Thursday, Rocko, an Atlanta rapper, released a remix of the song this week without Mr. Ross’s lines, subsituting a rap by Wiz Khalifa instead, Hip Hop Wired reported.