Rihanna slams Snapchat’s ‘Slap Rihanna’ ad for ‘shaming domestic violence victims’
In 2009, Chris Brown brutally assaulted Rihanna, punching her multiple times and slamming her head into his car window. A photo taken afterward leaked to the Internet, showing the horrific bruises of her. The pop star looked almost unrecognizable. It's been nearly a decade, and the singers themselves seem to have moved on, but the incident is still impossible to forget.
So, Snapchat users were disgusted to see a "Would You Rather" ad asking if they would rather "Slap Rihanna" or "Punch Chris Brown." Most people wanted to "Karate Chop Snapchat" for hosting such a tone-deaf advertisement that makes light of domestic violence.
According to Snapchat's official policy, "All ads are subject to our review and approval. We reserve the right to reject or remove any ad in our sole discretion for any reason." That means someone at Snapchat screened the advertisement and thought its content was totally acceptable. On social media, people called for the person who approved the ad to be fired, calling it disrespectful not just to Rihanna, but to domestic violence victims.
In response, a spokesperson for Snapchat apologized, saying "the advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines. We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware. We are sorry that this happened."
Now Rihanna herself has responded to the controversy. In an Instagram story, she slammed the company for 'bringing shame to domestic violence victims,' and ended it with a pretty good pun:
"Now, Snapchat, I know you already know you ain’t my favourite app out there! But I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess! I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb!
You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke out of it! This isn’t about my personal feelings, because I don’t have much of them… but all the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past, and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet… you let us down!
Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away"
While it's great that Snapchat removed the ad, it's pretty crazy that it was approved in the first place. In fact, it's the latest in a run of bad press for the company. After launching their new design, thousands of users complained, including tastemaker Kylie Jenner. In a brutal tweet, she wrote, "sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me... ugh this is so sad." As a result of this negative feedback, the company lost $1.3 billion in market value. (Maybe that's why they weren't being that discriminatory with the ads they approved.)
Now many people are asking themselves a different "Would You Rather" question: Would you rather keep Snapchat, or delete it?