Rick Ross is no longer the Boss–at least when it comes to Reebok.
The footwear company has cut ties with the rapper over the controversial lyric in his new single “U.O.E.N.O.” which appears to glorify date rape, Footwear News is reporting.
The news comes after protesters took to Reebok’s New York store demanding the company drop him as a spokesperson. A petition was also started by new women’s rights groups UltraViolet, which garnered about 75,000 signatures. According to a statement released by UltraViolet, more than 10,000 activists also called Reebok demanding action and more than 2,000 tweeted the company. The campaign against Ross included, according to the release, “526 survivors of rape who were brave enough to publicly confront rape culture.”
Now, Reebok is acknowledging the problem–and taking immediate action. The company released the following statement:
“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.”
But is it too little too late? Last week Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of UltraViolet critized the company for not responding fast enough. “In remaining silent, Reebok is using its brand to promote rape,” she told us. “Reebok and Rick Ross have crossed a line.”
However, last night Chaudhary told us she was “thrilled to hear that Reebok is joining the fight against rape culture and dropping Rick Ross.”
“This sends a strong message that rapping about drugging and raping an unconscious woman is not only morally wrong, but has real consequences,” She said. “After Steubenville, Americans expect and demand better. Thank you Reebok for taking a stand.”
Do you think Reebok reacted fast enough? And more importantly will you forgive them?
We’ve reached out to Reebok and Rick Ross and will update when we hear back.