Many Snapchat users were shocked to see that the app green-lighted an ad that asked users if they’d rather “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown.” Following significant backlash, Snapchat pulled the ad, which was submitted to promote the game “Would You Rather?”
Social media users were quick to pick up on the ad’s poor taste, which seemed to poke fun at domestic violence at Rihanna’s expense. Back in 2009, Rihanna and her then-boyfriend Chris Brown got into a fight that turned physical. Photos of Rihanna, badly beaten and bruised, surfaced online and Brown was arrested and charged with battery. He pleaded guilty and was put on probation, which was finished in March 2015.
Since that time, many people have turned their backs on Brown. Although he is still making music, many have refused to buy his albums. According to Rolling Stone, the 2009 incident has bothered Brown for years.
“Two years after being charged with battery, Chris Brown sat down with Robin Roberts for an interview on Good Morning America. When the host asked Brown about the domestic abuse case, the singer reportedly stormed off the set and he had broken a window in his dressing room. “
While it seems clear that the “Slap Rihanna/Punch Chris Brown” ad was in direct correlation with the former couple’s physical fight, Brown hasn’t issued a statement about it, nor has he responded in any way.
It is unknown if “Would You Rather?” has chosen to remove that “choice” from its game, or if users are still able to see that option while playing.
According to The Sun, Snapchat has since apologized for its decision to run the ad.
“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,” a spokesperson for Snapchat told the outlet.
“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 [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 [domestic violence] 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,” Rihanna posted in an Instagram story video on Thursday, March 15.
The ad even got the attention of former first daughter, Chelsea Clinton, who took to Twitter to post the following message after seeing the ad.
“Just awful. Awful that anyone thinks this is funny. Awful that anyone thinks this is appropriate. Awful that any company would approve this…”
Fans of Rihanna have joined in to support her, vowing to stop using Snapchat or to delete the app altogether.