Published Apr 11, 2013Rick Ross' controversial, date rape-inferring lyrics on Rocko's hit "U.O.E.N.O." have now left the rapper without an endorsement deal from Reebok. The shoemakers announced today (April 11) that they had severed all ties to Ricky Rozay.
The news came via a statement to TMZ that noted: "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 now infamous bars had Ross rapping: "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." The lines were a cause of protest for many: up in Canada, a previously scheduled performance in Ottawa was cancelled, while Reebok faced numerous calls to remove Ross from the payroll.
"The company added, "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."
"The announcement comes a day after Rocko himself revealed he was removing Ross' verse on any upcoming official remixes. One such redo appeared today with new bars from Wiz Khalifa.
Ross had previously tried to explain the situation on a New Orleans radio station and with the tweet: "I don't condone rape. Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS."
He has yet to respond to on either Rocko's removal of his bars on "U.O.E.N.O." or the loss of his endorsement deal.
UPDATE: Following the news that Reebok would be dropping Ross, he tweeted, "I want to thank Reebok Classics for their hard work and dedication over this past year.Good partners,good shoe.continued success." Ross also issued the following statement to Complex concerning the whole controversy:
Before I am an artist, I am a father, a son, and a brother to some of the most cherished women in the world. So for me to suggest in any way that harm and violation be brought to a woman is one of my biggest mistakes and regrets. As an artist, one of the most liberating things is being able to paint pictures with my words. But with that comes a great responsibility. And most recently, my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart. And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the power of influence. To the young men who listen to my music, please know that using a substance to rob a woman of her right to make a choice is not only a crime, it's wrong and I do not encourage it. To my fans, I also apologize if I have disappointed you. I can only hope that this sparks a healthy dialogue and that I can contribute to it.