The advertisement for a game called “Would You Rather” was displayed on the app for U.S. users, asking them to select a choice between slapping Rihanna and punching Brown.
The ad was quickly slammed for appearing “tone deaf” due to Brown’s conviction for assaulting Rihanna in his car in 2009 while the pair were in a relationship. (Brown had been charged with two felony counts — assault and making criminal threats — in the alleged fight that left Rihanna bruised and bloodied ahead of the 2009 Grammys; the exes reached a plea agreement that spared Brown jail time after he pleaded guilty to felony assault by means likely to cause great bodily injury.)
Snapchat quickly removed the ad and issued an apology.
“The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines,” a rep for Snapchat told the BBC. “We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware. We are sorry that this happened.”
Others to lend their voice to the criticism included U.S. activist Brittany Packnett and Chelsea Clinton.
“I know that social media ads go through an approval process from the platform,” Packnett tweeted. “This means Snapchat approved an ad that makes light of domestic violence. The update ain’t the only thing that’s wack over there, friends.”
Clinton replied to the tweet, writing: “Just awful. Awful that anyone thinks this is funny. Awful that anyone thinks this is appropriate. Awful that any company would approve this. Thank you Brittany for calling this out.”
The ad picked up more traction than it would have done after a new update displays commercial material in between stories.
Last week, Brown came under fire from Vanessa Carlton for sharing one of her songs on International Women’s Day.
After he posted Carlton’s track “A Thousand Miles,” she replied on Instagram: “Today Chris Brown posted my video. I am now being repeatedly tagged to his account. Being that today is International Women’s Day I feel compelled to draw a line. I support survivors not perpetrators of domestic violence. I do not want to be associated with an artist that has assaulted women on a day like today. Thank you #internationalwomensday.”
Brown later responded: ”I posted a song that was and still is a great song and the artist felt she was doing her duty as a WOMAN to continue to spread this kind of hatred today. I won’t keep it up long. I just hope she knows she is loved and her song is great.”