Protesters outside a Manhattan Reebok store in.

When rapper Rick Ross condoned rape in one of his songs, thousands of people were angered. The lyrics, which discussed drugging and raping a female with terrible bravado, hit far too close to home at a moment when high-profile cases like Steubenville or Rehtaeh Parsons dominate the public consciousness — cases, notably, where the victim was intoxicated, possibly drugged, brought to different locations and assaulted by men.

That n*gga sold you that re-rock, you ain’t even know it

I die over these Reeboks, you ain’t even know it

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

Basically, this woman he’s talking about “ain’t even know” a guy (Ross) is having sex with her because he put drugs in her alcohol without her realizing it. When Ross was confronted with the reality of his words via a huge petition and a whole lot of outrage, he gave a condescending apology that began with the phrase, “Woman is the most precious gift known to man.” Am I wrapped and underneath a tree? No, asshole, because I’m a human being and not a present to you.

As a result of the backlash, including protests outside their stores, Ross’ sponsor Reebok has opted to drop him. The statement they released acknowledged how obnoxious his response was, but politely, as released statements often are:

“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.”

“At this time, it is in everyone’s best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross.”

Good job Reebok! This is an example of two wonderful things:

  1. The power of protest: if so many women hadn’t gone out or gone online and spent time trying to convince Reebok to drop Rick Ross, who knows if the retail giant would’ve even bothered?
  2. Sometimes, change happens: it isn’t often, and it isn’t consistent, but once in a while a change happens that proves people aren’t going to accept bullshit from companies anymore.

I’m really, truly glad that Reebok chose to end its relationship with Ross — not to do so would’ve shown a clear disregard for the promotion of rape, and that would not have been a responsible move on their part. It’s so important for companies to show that, just like any other embarrassing or disgusting act that a celebrity can do, rape promotion and forgiveness is unacceptable. High five, Reebok.

Photo: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images