Rihanna has broken her silence about a controversial Snapchat advertisement that poked fun at her assault by her former boyfriend, Chris Brown, when they were dating in 2009. In a lengthy statement on her Instagram story this morning, the singer berated the social media platform for its insensitivity towards domestic violence victims.
Her message reads:
“Now SNAPCHAT I know you already know you ain’t my fav 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 [domestic violence] victims and made a joke of it!!! 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-ology away.”
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The distasteful ad asked users if they would rather “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown,” alluding to the the time Brown assaulted the “Wild Thoughts” singer in 2009. (He was sentenced to serve five yeas probation, CNN reported at the time.) It’s unclear what the ad was for, exactly.
— Blavity News (@Blavity) March 15, 2018
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Users promptly noticed the insensitive ad and spoke out on Twitter. Even Chelsea Clinton chimed in, calling it “just awful.”
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
Activist Brittany Packnett also pointed out that Snapchat approves ads before they go live on the app. Indeed, in its official advertising policies, Snapchat says, “All ads are subject to our review and approval.”
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The list of prohibited content includes “content depicting excessive violence,” “disrespectful content,” and “Content that demeans, degrades, or shows hate toward a particular race, gender, culture, country, belief, or toward any member of a protected class.” Doesn’t this ad tick off all of those boxes?
After the controversy, Snapchat took down the ad and told Mashable in a statement:
“The ad 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.”
Brown also responded to the image in a statement provided by his lawyer, Mark Geragos, to Us Weekly: “They should change their name from Snapchat to Tone Deaf.”
Let this be a lesson to everyone out there: never come for Rihanna, or domestic violence victims, ever.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.