- (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/Files)
Rick Ross was officially released as a partner of the Reebok sports apparel company after the 37-year-old rapper's lyrics fueled speculation about date rape and protests.
Reebok released a statement about their decision to cut ties with the rapper hailing from Miami, Fla.
"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," Reebok said in a statement to Billboard. "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."
The decision comes one week after UltraViolet, a community of individuals fighting for women's rights, protested along with dozens of women who presented thousands of petitions and signs that read, "Hey Reebok-- Want my business? Stop promoting rape. Drop Rick Ross."
Ross came under fire last month when he appeared on fellow rapper Rocko's song "You Don't Even Know It." In the song, Ross speaks about drugging a woman with a drug made popular in the rap industry- molly.
"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," Ross rapped in the song.
Ross took to Twitter to apologize for his lyrics during the Ultraviolet protest that took place in front of the New York City Reebok flagship store.
"I dont condone rape. Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS," he tweeted. "Apologies to my many business partners, who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet."
Ultraviolet responded to Reebok's decision to drop Ross on Thursday.
"We are thrilled to hear that Reebok is joining the fight against rape culture and dropping Rick Ross. This is a huge victory for women, for the 526 survivors of rape who were brave enough to publicly confront rape culture, and for the nearly 100,000 UltraViolet members who have poured their hearts and time into this campaign," UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary 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," she added.