In a statement released by Ross today (April 12), he apologizes for his verse on Rocko’s single “U.O.E.N.O.” in which he raps about slipping a girl a “Molly” (MDMA) tab without her knowledge and later having sex with her.
“Before I am an artist, I am a father, a son, and a brother to some of the most cherished women in the world,” he writes. “So for me to suggest in any way that harm and violation be brought to a woman is one of my biggest mistakes and regrets.”
In the statement, Ross goes on to say: “As an artist, one of the most liberating things is being able to paint pictures with my words. But with that comes a great responsibility. And most recently, my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart. And for this, I apologize.”
He speaks directly to any woman who “felt the sting of abuse, I apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the power of influence.”
Ross also addresses his young male fans, writing, “Please know that using a substance to rob a woman of her right to make a choice is not only a crime, it’s wrong and I do not encourage it.”
He adds, “To my fans, I also apologize if I have disappointed you. I can only hope that this sparks a healthy dialogue and that I can contribute to it.”
Ross had not issued a statement until now, opting instead for a tweet that simply read: “I dont condone rape. Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS”
His formal statement comes one day after Reebok dropped him as a spokesperson.
“Reebok holds our partners to a high standard, and we expect them to live up to the values of our brand. Unfortunately, Rick Ross has failed to do so,” Reebok said in a statement, according to Billboard. “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.”
Reebok’s decision comes a week after activist group UltraViolet held a protest outside Reebok’s flagship store in New York City. Watch Radio.com’s coverage of the protest below.
Earlier this week, Rocko swapped out Ross’ guest verses on “U.O.E.N.O.” for those from other rappers including Wiz Khalifa.