chatsimple Hip-Hop Artist Ross Loses Endorsement Amid Lyrical Controversy

Hip-Hop Artist Ross Loses Endorsement Amid Lyrical Controversy

By: Barry Chase
: 3 Minutes to Read

Our NYC and Miami Entertainment Law Firm advises and represents clients in all legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters, and intellectual property.

Hip-Hop Artist Ross Loses Endorsement Amid Lyrical Controversy

Miami-based rapper Rick Ross recently lost a major merchandise endorsement deal with Reebok. The athletic products manufacturer decided to make the move after one of Ross’ songs contained lyrics that raised controversy among a number of public-interest groups.

According to reports, a recently released song’s lyrics are suggestive of and promote sexual assault. Since a number of entities have attacked these lyrics, Ross has issued a statement indicating that the lyrics were taken out of context and do not endorse illegal activities.

Nevertheless, Reebok officials made the announcement that they have decided to drop Ross from all their promotional materials, because the lyrics don’t align with company values. Furthermore, the company says the artist hasn’t issued an adequate response to the seriousness of the allegations against him.

Like many endorsement deals, Ross’ deal with Reebok included TV and print ads. Obtaining and maintaining an endorsement deal like this can do a lot to promote an entertainers public image, while providing support to another company. Like many business arrangements, endorsement deals can have complex clauses and contingencies.

When entering into an endorsement deal, it’s important for both parties to understand the terms of their agreement. Although it’s not exactly certain how Ross’ contract with Reebok was structured, there may have been terms for the company to drop the deal if he displayed controversial or suggestive behavior.

While the aforementioned clauses may be of concern for companies offering endorsements, it’s also important that the entertainer or athlete receiving the deal is well-represented by an entertainment lawyer. Without this kind of assistance, it’s possible that the entertainer will not receive terms that truly benefit his or her public image and professional reputation.

Source: Reuters, “Reebok drops Rick Ross after controversy over rape lyrics,” Chris Michaud, April 12, 2013

Barry Chase

Barry Chase, Esq., Senior Partner at ChaseLawyers®, is a distinguished figure in the realm of sports and entertainment law, offering Harvard-level representation that is both cost-sensitive and exceptional. An honors graduate of Yale College (Phi Beta Kappa) and Harvard Law School, Chase's illustrious career commenced at a prominent Washington, D.C. law firm, now known as Wilmer Hale. Here, he honed his expertise in Communications and First Amendment law, representing media titans such as CBS, the Times-Mirror Company, and Time, Inc. in pivotal Federal Communications Commission (FCC) matters.

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