Rapper Rick Ross performs at the Beats by Dr. Dre CES after-party in Las Vegas on January 10.
Isaac Brekken/Getty Images
Rapper Rick Ross performs at the Beats by Dr. Dre CES after-party in Las Vegas on January 10.

Story highlights

Rick Ross says he's sorry some interpreted lyric as endorsing rape

Critics call apology on Twitter halfhearted, insincere

Protesters led by women's rights group demand Reebok drop Ross as endorser

(CNN) —  

Hip-hop artist Rick Ross apologized –sort of – twice on Thursday for song lyrics that seem to allude to date rape, but many weren’t buying it.

Ross has been taking heat since the song “U.O.E.N.O” was released in February. On Thursday, scores of protesters picketed outside a Reebok store in Manhattan and delivered a petition demanding the sportswear manufacturer drop Ross as a celebrity endorser.

In the song Ross raps: “Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it. I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.”

“Molly” is a slang term for a powerful form of the psychoactive drug MDMA, commonly called ecstasy.

“We are asking Reebok to drop their endorsement deal with Rick Ross,” said Shawna Thompson, a spokeswoman for UltraViolet, a women’s rights group that led Thursday’s protest. “The reason we are asking them to do is because Rick Ross recently rapped, bragging essentially, about drugging and raping women. We see this as an opportunity to elevate the fact that it’s not OK to do that, and he shouldn’t benefit from endorsement deals when he has rap lyrics like that.”

Ross said Thursday on his Twitter account: “I dont condone rape. Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS”

Much of the Twittersphere reacted negatively.

@RadicalONFIRE wrote: “RICK ROSS needs to work on the sincerity of his apologies…just saying.”

@AprilLeighTree: “Once again a mega-gross rapper promotes rape culture. @Reebok spokesperson & lowlife Rick Ross should be fired! #NotBuyingIt”

@lovetricialee: “Rick Ross is simply another expanse of how much further we have to go. Truly pathetic.”

@weakforcouture: “I hate rick ross. He’s an idiot who’s trying to backpeddle out of a scandal he brought upon himself”

Two hours later Ross tried again: “Apologies to my many business partners,who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet”

That one didn’t go over particularly well, either. Professor/author/activist Marc Lamont Hill tweeted: “The fact that @rickyrozay apologized clearly to @reebok after offering an ‘i’m sorry y’all misunderstood and got mad at me’ says everything.”

Tweets supporting Ross are out there too, but most of them are promoting his video “Don’t Kill My Vibe (Freestyle),” which was released Thursday.

Multiple CNN calls and e-mails to Reebok’s corporate headquarters went unanswered on Thursday.

Attempts to reach Ross were also unsuccessful.

During the initial wave of outrage over the song, some current and former students of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, petitioned the school student association to cancel Ross’ performance there scheduled for Tuesday.

The Carleton University Students Association released a statement on March 28 saying in part: “We would like to reaffirm our stance that we consider the lyrics in question to be repulsive and uncharacteristic of the views and beliefs of CUSA as an organization and its members. That being said, we are now in the process of looking into selling off the remainder of the tickets back to the organizers.”

However, the student group still plans to host the concert and honor tickets already sold to the public.

CNN’s Jim Kavanagh contributed to this report.