Rihanna Claps Back at Snapchat Ad Making Light of Domestic Violence

Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced domestic violence, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by selecting “chat now” or calling 1-800-799-7233.

Earlier this week, Snapchat was widely criticized for running an advertisement for a game called “Would You Rather?” that made light of domestic violence. The ad, referencing Chris Brown’s highly-publicized assault of Rihanna in 2009, asked users if they would rather “slap Rihanna” or “punch Chris Brown.”

Among Twitter users who voiced their discontent was former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, who wrote, “Just awful. Awful that anyone thinks this is funny. Awful that anyone thinks this is appropriate. Awful that any company would approve this.”

On Monday, Rihanna criticized Snapchat for their advertisement on her Instagram story.

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!… You spent money to animate something that would bring intentional shame to DV [domestic violence] victims and made a joke of it!!! This isn’t about 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.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States alone, every minute an average of 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner. This means every year, there are over 10 million people experiencing domestic abuse and intimate partner violence.

Snapchat’s advertising policies state that all ads are reviewed and approved before publishing. On Tuesday, Snapchat told BBC News,”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.”

In her Instagram story, Rihanna responded by telling Snapchat to “throw the whole app-oligy away.”

If this kind of news is hard for you, you’re not alone. Here are some things we want you to remember in the wake of domestic violence news like this.

1. It’s OK to Take a Step Back From the News

It’s OK to unplug for a while to protect your mental health. If it makes you anxious to not know what is going on news-wise, enlist the help of a friend to keep you updated on non-domestic violence related news. Whatever you choose to do, don’t feel the pressure to “stay informed” if the news causes you psychological stress.

2. You Don’t Have to Share Your Story

As more and more people talk about this advertisement, you may begin to feel the pressure to share your own experience in order to educate others about why this kind of flippant disregard for domestic violence isn’t OK. If you do choose to open up, that’s OK. If you don’t feel ready to share or don’t want to, you have the power to make that decision. Do what feels best for you, and no matter what, know that you, your story and your feelings are important and valid.

3. You’re Not Alone

If news like this is triggering for you, please know you aren’t alone. If you are struggling with memories of past domestic violence or intimate partner violence and need to talk to someone right now, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1.800.799.7233. To learn more about domestic violence prevention and access resources, visit thehotline.org.

Photo via Rihanna Facebook and Snapchat Twitter

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Mental Health

young woman sitting on park bench in fall with bright colored umbrella

7 Ways I Find Hope in My Struggle With Mental Illness

Recently, a friend asked me how I am always so hopeful. She marveled at my experience of multiple mental illnesses and was impressed by my hope and determination. I didn’t know how to answer her question. I am a hopeful person and have been so for a long time. Eventually, after further reflection, I thought [...]
Graphic reads: #Enough. National school walk up March 14, 2018

The Problem With Telling Students 'Walk Up, Not Out' for the Sake of Mental Health

When our nation is divided (and when the internet gets involved), it’s not uncommon for ideas to be labeled as mutually exclusive when really, they’re not. On Wednesday, March 14, one month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students across the nation organized a 17-minute school walkout to honor the 17 people who died [...]
Cartoon-like image of a classroom. The chairs on the desks. No students are in the room.

How to Protect Students' Mental Health During Active Shooter Drills

While drills for active shooters are not dangerous like actual crisis situations, they can still be mentally distressing for students, especially if the drills include an officer shooting blanks from a gun to simulate gunfire. Navigating the need for preparedness and the potential harm from drills is hard, but it’s something schools are thinking more [...]
Doctor and patient sitting at the desk. Medicine and health care concept

When Doctors Are Insensitive to Mental Illness

“I noticed you have complex PTSD (CPTSD) in your file. Have you ever had any sexual trauma?” “No, no. Nothing like that,” I quickly answered, trying to hide the shock I felt by such a blatant question. “Well, I’m only asking because pain during sex can be attributed to abuse,” continued my doctor. This question was [...]