After an advertisement featured on Snapchat alluded to the 2009 domestic violence incident between Rihanna and Chris Brown, using images of both stars, the singer took to Instagram to criticize Snapchat, arguing that the app was condoning mockery of a sensitive issue.
The ad for a “Would You Rather” trivia game asked users whether they would rather “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown.” Brown pleaded guilty to physically assaulting Rihanna while the two were dating in 2009 and served five years’ probation.
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
“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!” the singer wrote Thursday on her Instagram Story. “I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb!”
Rihanna emphasized that her speaking out wasn’t to address her “personal feelings,” but rather to defend victims of domestic violence who may have found the ad insensitive.
“You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it,” she 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.”
Rihanna then ended her statement with a subtle jab, demanding Snapchat “throw the whole app-oligy away.”
Snapchat has since taken the ad down. “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,” Snapchat told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.
According to Snapchat, the ad for the mobile video game, which is not directly affiliated with the social media app, has been blocked from the platform after failing to abide by the app’s advertising policies, which forbid “shocking, sensational or disrespectful content.”
Despite no longer being on the app, screenshots of the ad have circulated online, receiving criticism from activist Brittany Packnett and Chelsea Clinton.
I know that social media ads go through an approval process from the platform.
This means @Snapchat approved an ad that makes light of domestic violence.
The update ain’t the only thing that’s wack over there, friends. https://t.co/PmbJn4zCel
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) March 12, 2018
“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,” Clinton tweeted in response to the activist’s comment.