Reebok has dropped its endorsement deal with Rick Ross on the heels of protests due to his lyrics in Rocko’s song “U.O.E.N.O.” In a statement, the sneaker company said that Ross failed to meet their needs out of a celebrity partner.
“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.”
Protests from the women’s anti-violence group UltraViolet were staged outside of Reebok’s flagship store in New York last week in response to Ross’ lyrics — and soft apologies.
“Put Molly all in the champagne / She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that / She ain’t even know it,” he rapped in the song.
In his first interview about the song, he said that there was “a misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation where the term rape wasn’t used. I would never use the word rape in my records.” He later Tweeted that the fault in the uproar was, again, around the “interpretation” of the lyrics: “I don’t condone rape.Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape.”
Reebok added to their release that “we are very disappointed (Ross) has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue,” referring to these statements.
Rocko has released a new version of “U.O.E.N.O.” today, now featuring Wiz Khalifa in place of Ross’ verse. You can hear it below. Rocko told Hot 97 that a remix was on the way yesterday, noting that a replacement wasn’t being offered because of the offensive nature, but because business on the song will be better and “the type of traction that the record has.” He’ll release more remixes over the next month.