Early on at the BET Awards, the cameras “caught” Rihanna playing with a roll of duct tape, leading a bunch of people to wonder on social media what exactly was going on. It turned out to be part of a clearly planned gag on the behalf of BET — later in the show came the payoff, with Rihanna duct-taping Floyd Mayweather’s mouth shut.
The “joke” seemed to poke fun at Mayweather’s and Rihanna’s well-known histories with domestic violence, Mayweather as a repeated perpetrator and Rihanna as a victim. The fact that BET chose to seat the two next to each other seemed in poor taste to many alone, and the joke led to even more justifiable outrage.
It’s possible BET didn’t mean to make the domestic violence connection, and just thought this one out really poorly (or not at all). But even if that’s the case, it shows an incredible amount of tone-deafness on behalf of the network. And we haven’t even gotten into why Rihanna or Mayweather would possibly agree to be a part of this.