Target: Uli Becker, CEO of Reebok
Goal: Thank Reebok for ending its contract with rapper Rick Ross, whose recent song glorified date rape.
For too many women (and men) all over the world, rape is an ugly reality. Just as bad is the pervasive cultural attitude that excuses or even glorifies rape. Rick Ross’s recent release, “U.O.E.N.O,” is a prime example of this attitude, as the rapper spouts lyrics that describe date rape. After much controversy and petitions from women’s rights groups, Reebok has ended its advertising contract with Ross, taking a powerful anti-rape stance. Sign the petition to thank Reebok for refusing to validate rape culture.
In a culture rife with victim-blaming and “slut-shaming,” lyrics like Ross’s indicate a deep-seated, culturally-ingrained disrespect and dehumanization of women. “Put Molly all in the champagne,” Ross raps in “U.O.E.N.O,” using a slang term for ecstasy. “She ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoy that. She ain’t even know it.” The lyrics plainly promote the drugging and sexual assault of an unconscious or incoherent woman, despite Ross’s defense that “he never used the word rape.”
In the wake of the controversy over the lyrics and Ross’s refusal to issue a legitimate apology, Reebok terminated its contract with Ross, explaining in a statement to TMZ, “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…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.”
This succinct and on-point response addresses the root of the problem; rather than simply removing Ross for being what is often vaguely termed as “offensive,” Reebok shows that it is cognizant of the issues at stake and is promoting a public dialogue that puts the blame where it belongs – on those who support and promote rape culture.
Thank Reebok for its straightforward and mindful response to an all-too-common form of misogyny. Sign the petition and applaud Reebok for its decision to end its dealings with Rick Ross.
Dear Mr. Becker,
In a world where rape culture is discouragingly pervasive, it is refreshing to see a company standing up for victims of sexual assault rather than shaming them. Reebok’s recent response to Rick Ross’s hateful and misogynistic lyrics was thoughtful and on-point, and it sends a clear message that victim-blaming and “slut-shaming” are not role-model-worthy behaviors.
Ross’s lyrics, which glorify date rape through their description of drugging and assaulting a woman who is either unconscious or incoherent, ignited a firestorm, as women’s rights groups and survivors of sexual assault condemned them as hateful, sexist, and violent. Reebok’s acknowledgement of this can do a lot to help change the minds of people in its consumer base, emphasizing that rape culture is an issue that must be tackled by all, not just by women’s rights advocates.
Thank you for your refusal to provide a platform for hate speech and rape glorification.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: RAWDOGGTV via Flickr