Article Lead Image


Snapchat apologizes for running tone-deaf ad about Chris Brown assaulting Rihanna

The ad has since been pulled.


Christine Friar


Posted on Mar 14, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 9:47 pm CDT

After receiving complaints, Snapchat has taken down an advertisement for a Would You Rather-style app that asked viewers if they’d prefer to “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown.”

The image was a reference to Brown’s 2009 assault against the pop star, which left her face famously battered before they were set to perform at the Grammys. The discourse around gender violence in the entertainment industry has certainly evolved in the nine years since the incident, but somehow the graphic made it through Snapchat’s vetting process and into the feeds of users this week.

Royce Mann was one of the first to tweet about the ad’s offensive premise, and activists like Brittany Packnett helped the story gain traction.

In a statement issued to the BBC on Tuesday, Snapchat apologized for not catching the inappropriate messaging in their review process. “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 company wrote. “We are sorry that this happened.”

The company did not remark on the particulars of how the ad got approved, or whether it plans to alter the review process to ensure similar ads don’t get published again.

The image was reportedly only served to Snapchat users in the U.S., and has since been pulled from the platform.

Share this article
*First Published: Mar 14, 2018, 5:02 pm CDT