Snapchat loses £650m after Rihanna condemns firm for allowing ad 'shaming' domestic violence victims

The advert, for mobile game ‘Would You Rather?’, gave users two options: ‘Slap Rihanna’ or ‘Punch Chris Brown’

Maya Oppenheim
Sunday 18 March 2018 13:46 GMT
Snapchat features ad asking users if they would rather 'slap Rihanna' or 'punch Chris Brown'

Snapchat has lost $800m (£650m) after Rihanna lambasted the app for making light of Chris Brown’s domestic violence towards her in an advert.

The ad was for the mobile game “Would You Rather?” and it gave users two options: “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown”.

The advert appeared to reference Chris Brown’s conviction for assaulting Rihanna in 2009 while they were dating. Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna during an argument.

The singer was sentenced to 180 days of community service, one year of domestic violence counselling, anger management classes and five years of probation – which he was released from roughly a year ago.

In the direct aftermath of the assault, images of Rihanna’s bruised, swollen face surfaced and were widely disseminated.

Rihanna hit back at Snapchat with a lengthy statement which accused the app of “intentionally” shaming domestic violence survivors.

Her remark sent the share price value of Snapchat parent company, Snap, down by nearly 4 per cent – erasing nearly $800m from the company’s market value.

The musician, who is one of the bestselling artists of all time, said she was “trying to figure out what the point was with this mess”.

“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 on an Instagram story.

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“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.”

Earlier in the week, a Snap Inc spokesperson said: “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.”

Snap, who has blocked the heavily criticised game from advertising on its platform, also said the ad was published “in error” and was taken down immediately.

The firm said: ”The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines. We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware.”

The ad came under heavy criticism on Twitter, with Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying: “Just awful. Awful that anyone thinks this is funny. Awful that anyone thinks this is appropriate. Awful that any company would approve this.”

Snap’s value also plunged after reality TV star Kylie Jenner criticised the app last month. “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” Jenner tweeted.

The share of Snap – which owns the messaging service Snapchat – fell by almost 8 per cent. This wiped £1bn off its market value.

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