Skip to main content

Rihanna condemns Snapchat for ad making light of domestic violence

Rihanna condemns Snapchat for ad making light of domestic violence


‘I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb!’

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

'FENTY Beauty' By Rihanna - Red Carpet Arrivals
Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Rihanna posted an Instagram Story today to denounce Snapchat after the platform showed an offensive ad featuring the artist to users. The ad was for a smartphone game called Would You Rather that appeared inside Snapchat over the weekend asking users if they would rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown.

Many users caught the thinly veiled reference to the infamous 2009 incident when Chris Brown violently assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna. Brown choked, bit, and punched Rihanna and threatened to kill her, landing her in the hospital.

Many on social media have called out Snapchat for making an advertisement out of a terrible incident. Chelsea Clinton said it’s “awful that any company would approve this.”

Snapchat apologized and pulled the ad on Monday, saying in a statement, “The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines.” Rihanna declined to accept the platform’s apology for mistakenly placing the ad after a vetting process, saying, “I’d love to call it ignorance, but I know you ain’t that dumb!”

Snapchat has responded to Rihanna’s Instagram story today, in a statement to The Verge: “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.”

The company notes that it has blocked Would You Rather as an advertiser and that the game was unaffiliated with Snapchat. Snapchat also mentioned that it supports the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the group’s executive vice president sits on Snapchat’s Safety Advisory Board.

Rihanna makes it clear in her statement that she’s more concerned about other domestic violence victims being made fun of by the ad than by her own personal feelings being hurt. Her full statement 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 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 let us down! Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.”

Kylie Jenner declared Snapchat to be dead back in February, and the company’s stock tanked by several percentage points after her words. Rihanna’s condemnation today is another blow to the service; so far, the stock has tumbled nearly 5 percent following her Instagram Story.

Update March 15th, 1:50 PM ET: This article has been updated with Snapchat’s latest statement.