Reebok drops Rick Ross over lyrics

The athletic goods retailer has dropped rapper Rick Ross over controversial lyrics alluding to rape.

A general view at the New York City protest against Reebok for not firing rapper Rick Ross over sexist and violent lyrics outside the Reebok Flagship Store on 4 April 2013 in New York City. Picture: AFP

NEW YORK - Athletic goods retailer Reebok on Thursday terminated its relationship with rapper Rick Ross, whose song featuring lyrics that seem to boast about drugging and raping a woman has caused an uproar.

"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," Reebok, a subsidiary of Germany company Adidas, said in a statement.

"At this time, it is in everyone's best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross," it said.

Ross had an endorsement deal with the company and promoted its shoes in print and TV commercials.

Women's rights organizations and some politicians have been calling for protests and boycotts over the Miami-based rapper's song "U.O.E.N.O.," a January release that contains lyrics that seem to refer to drugging and having sex with a woman who is unaware of what is happening.

Some radio stations dropped the record from their playlists, a parents' watchdog protested and women's rights advocates have posted video on YouTube objecting to the song.

The song contains the lines: "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 slang for the drug MDMA.

Ross denied the lyric in question condones rape, saying the lyrics have been misinterpreted.