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Reebok’s association with rapper Rick Ross is at an end, the athletic company told Footwear News.
The Canton, Mass.-based athletic brand, a division of Adidas Group, said in a statement they are dropping the hip-hop star over the artist’s lyrics in the single “U.O.E.N.O,” which many have claimed glorify rape.
According to a statement from the brand, “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.”
Women's rights groups and others had called for Reebok, who signed Ross in early 2012, to drop the rapper. Protests were held in front of the Reebok store and about 75,000 people signed a petition encouraging the brand to end its relationship with Ross.
In “U.O.E.N.O,” Ross raps, “Put molly all in the champagne / She ain't even know it / I took her home and I enjoy that / She ain't even know it."
On April 4, he tweeted, “I dont condone rape. Apologies for the lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS”
Ross followed that with “Apologies to my many business partners, who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet.”