Reebok drops Rick Ross after controversy over lyrics

NEW YORK Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:42pm EDT

Hip hop artist Rick Ross arrives at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 12, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Hip hop artist Rick Ross arrives at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Athletic goods retailer Reebok on Thursday terminated its relationship with rapper Rick Ross, whose song featuring lyrics that seem to boast about drugging and raping a woman has caused an uproar.

"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," Reebok, a subsidiary of Germany company Adidas, said in a statement.

"At this time, it is in everyone's best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross," it said.

Ross had an endorsement deal with the company and promoted its shoes in print and TV commercials.

Women's rights organizations and some politicians have been calling for protests and boycotts over the Miami-based rapper's song "U.O.E.N.O.," a January release that contains lyrics that seem to refer to drugging and having sex with a woman who is unaware of what is happening.

Some radio stations dropped the record from their playlists, a parents' watchdog protested and women's rights advocates have posted video on YouTube objecting to the song.

The song contains the lines: "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." Molly is slang for the drug MDMA.

Ross denied the lyric in question condones rape, saying the lyrics have been misinterpreted.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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Comments (4)
Patrina wrote:
Ok fine,we’re all ‘misinterpreting’ you but what did you mean in the first place? If this is not about rape please let the world know what this is about.

Apr 11, 2013 5:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JSasha30 wrote:
Rappers rap about killing, selling drugs, many things they do NOT do, how is this any different? Another example of people bored on weekdays, so they decide to protest, until reebok was cornered. If it was such a issue to Reebok, they would have dropped him from the beginning, not wait to the public out pour to do it. My bet is most people protesting or yourself probably didn’t listen to Rick Ross from the start.

Apr 11, 2013 6:23pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bsteberg2 wrote:
So, why is a rapper a spokesman for athletic shoes?

Apr 11, 2013 6:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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