Reebok finally cuts ties with Rick Ross following protests from UltraViolet, a women's rights group, over his controversial date-rape lyrics. "Reebok holds our partners to a high standard, and we expect them to live up to the values of our brand," the top-brand footwear company issues a statement regarding Rozay firing.
"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."
UltraViolet responds it with joy as tweeting, "Thank you @Reebok for doing the right thing!" The group adds in a statement, "This sends a strong message that rapping about drugging and raping an unconscious woman is not only morally wrong, but has real consequences. ...Thank you Reebok for taking a stand."
Rozay's controversial lyrics are contained in Rocko's song called "U.O.E.N.O" intended for a mixtape. The Maybach Music Group MC rhymes, "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 a slang term for the psychoactive drug MDMA, commonly called ecstasy.
Hot on heels of the protests, Rocko says in an interview with New York radio station Hot 97 that he plans to drop Rozay's verse from the song. "The record was for my mixtape and I knew wit (sic) was a good song but didn't know it was going to blow up like that...," he says.
The rapper continues, "The record with Ross will always be the original record but because of the type of traction that the record has as far as being on radio and being played all over the country, it puts me in a position where I have to change it."
The MMG label boss himself hasn't commented on his removal as Reebok's ambassador, but he actually has offered an apology when the controversy first arose. "It was misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation where the term 'rape' wasn't used. And I would never use the term 'rape' in my records," he tweeted. "Apologies to my many business partners,who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet."
His apology was not sincere enough for UltraViolet. Unimpressed by what the Maybach Music Group honcho said though, co-founder Nita Chaudhary slams the MC, calling his "non-apology and inability to understand that drugging and 'enjoying' an unconscious woman is in fact rape is appalling."
Fellow rappers like Tyga, Ace Hood and Meek Mill defend Rozay. Tyga calls the lyrics an exercise in the rapper's 1st Amendment rights. "What he said that's just freedom of speech," he says. "Activists and those righteous groups that's what they do, they probably don't even listen to Ross' music, I know they don't know who Rocko is! They just finding anything they can."
Hood believes that Rozay "ain't mean it in no way that would be degrading to women or anything like that aura," adding that the rhymer "ain't that type of guy." Mill also insists it's not a big deal as saying, "It's imaginary visual. If a writer write about somebody getting raped in a movie, that mean he a rapist or he want girls to get raped? No, he just wrote about that in a movie."