Rihanna condemns Snapchat for ad making light of domestic violence

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 yet....you 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.


Snapchat is irrelevant… this is not tech news… or even news.

An app with over 100 million daily users is irrelevant? Ok mr. cool guy.

Facebook daily active users surpass a billion, that doesn’t stop people from saying they’re dead.

Those people are also wrong. People are wrong all the time.

I think people say Facebook is awful rather than dead… Or maybe thats just my personal opinion.

Seems like a broad statement. All humans say the same thing? Hum….Not buying it. XD

Can’t see where I said all humans?

So an app with a ton of overhead and users, but unclear profit potential?

I thought we were talking about relevance? Now it’s about profit?

You’d think so, but stats say many young kids still use it.

The younger generation is really drawn to Snapchat and to a lesser extent Instagram.

So what was the ad for? Is "Impossible Choices" a Snapchat account that did the advertising? Snapchat isn’t post ads for Snapchat in Snapchat.

Looks like she’s confusing an ad on Snapchat as an ad from Snapchat? Their ad approval process definitely needs some work though.

She is not complaining on Snapchat for the ad as coming from it but rather for Snapchat to approve the ad to be published on it ..

You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!
You spent money to animate something

She clearly thinks this ad is made by Snapchat themselves .

Yeah when what really happened is they got paid money to publish it

Does it really matter? It’s like saying, damn that person driving that car clearly knows nothing about how the engine works. It’s Snap’s responsibility to make sure ads adhere to their policy.

It matters, it matters a lot. They didn’t create the ad, which is what Rihanna is claiming.

Creating an ad about Chris Brown punching Rihanna is not a mistake because it involves the company using it resources to do it. Accepting the ad could be just the wrong click of a button or a bored intern not paying close attention to what they were doing.

This new ad intrigues me.

When they redesigned the app to favor celebrities/corporations over typical users, I thought to myself, "Wow, now here’s a company that has no fucking clue how to become profitable sustainably"

But after seeing this ad, maybe they’re just the first tech company that honestly doesn’t give a shit what people think about them. Maybe Snapchat is meant to be Spiegel’s pirate ship and we’re all just along for the ride? Cuz if that’s the case he’s making Grade A moves toward realizing that goal.

that terrible new user interface is killing the app for me

How is it any worse than the original one – which was by far the worst on any mainstream app by most accounts.

Because the people you follow are separated if they happen to be popular & those that happen to be popular get mixed in with people & content you probably don’t give a f-ck about. It’s always been bad & they made it worse.

I have the snapchat glasses… What other option do I have?

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