After stirring up controversy for lyrics deemed pro-rape, Reebok has decided to end their partnership with Rick Ross.
The sneaker brand said in a statement Thursday that “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 37-year-old had an endorsement deal with the company and promoted its shoes in print and TV commercials.
Ross formally apologized for his lyrics on Rocko’s song “U.O.E.N.O.” in a tweet last week. It came the same day a women’s group, UltraViolet, protested outside of one Reebok’s stores in Manhattan.
In Rocko’s song, Ross raps about giving a woman the drug MDMA, known as Molly, and having his way with her.
“Put Molly all up in her champagne, she ain’t even know it, I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it,” he says.
The song was released in January, but just recently began getting widespread notice. Women’s groups and rape victims have issued petitions.
In his apologetic tweet, Ross said his lyrics were misinterpreted. He said he doesn’t condone rape and apologized for lyrics that were “interpreted as rape.” A week prior, he said in a radio interview that “there was a misunderstanding with the lyric” and that he didn’t use the term “rape.”
Ross has appeared in a commercial for the Reebok Classic sneakers. The company says it does not believe that the Grammy-nominated rapper “condones sexual assault,” but the company is not happy with how he has handled the situation.
“We are very disappointed he has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue or an appropriate level of remorse,” the statement read. “At this time, it is in everyone’s best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross.”
Rocko told US station Hot 97 that he is removing Ross’ rap from his song as the backlash “put him a position where I have to change” it.