Rihanna wiped almost $1bn (£720m) off the value of Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc, after criticising the social media app for hosting an advert that appeared to make light of domestic violence.
The advertisement for a mobile game called “Would You Rather” featured photos of Rihanna and Chris Brown, and asked whether players would rather slap her or punch him. Brown was arrested and sentenced to community service after he attacked Rihanna, his girlfriend at the time, in 2009.
Following criticism on Twitter, Snapchat pulled the ad, and issued a brief apology stating that the ad violated its “guidelines”. Rihanna responded in a statement issued via a post on Snapchat rival Instagram’s Stories feature: “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 of it!!!” the singer posted on Thursday.
Is it just me, or is this ad that popped up on my Snapchat extremely tone deaf? Like what were they thinking with this? pic.twitter.com/7kP9RHcgNG
— Royce Mann (@TheRoyceMann) March 12, 2018
The singer continued: “This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause 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.”
Shares in the company dropped almost 5% overnight, Reuters reports. After Rihanna’s statement, a Snap spokesperson said in an email: “This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service. We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process. We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.” The game behind the ad was also blocked from the platform.
Rihanna has previously spoken about being a domestic violence victim, saying in one interview in 2015 that she resented having to continually discuss it: “It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously. But, for me, and anyone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it … So to talk about it and say it once, much less 200 times, is like … I have to be punished for it?”
The ad sparked a backlash on social media, including from Chelsea Clinton, who tweeted: “Awful that any company would approve this.”
Just awful. Awful that anyone thinks this is funny. Awful that anyone thinks this is appropriate. Awful that any company would approve this. Thank you Brittany for calling this out.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) March 12, 2018
The scandal comes at a particularly difficult time for Snap, which has faced anger over a controversial redesign – and experienced a $1.3bn drop in market value after the celebrity Kylie Jenner tweeted that she was no longer using the app.
Snapchat Apologizes for ‘Disgusting’ Rihanna-Chris Brown Ad
Following Rihanna’s scathing criticism of a Snapchat ad that asked users whether they’d rather “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown,” the app has apologized for the “terrible mistake.”
“This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service,” reads a statement from Snapchat. “We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process. We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.”
The ad was for a mobile game called “Would You Rather,” which has since been blocked from the platform, according to Snapchat.
Early Thursday (March 15), Rihanna responded to the ad, calling out the company for letting down victims of domestic violence. “This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause 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!” she wrote on her Instagram Story. “Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”
In 2009, Chris Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna.
And there you have it. Snapchat is cancelled. pic.twitter.com/zIPz8GKkg0
— IG @KPholla12 (@KPSWORLD) March 15, 2018