Musicians Dropped By Brands Following Huge Controversy

October 2022 was a historically bad month for Kanye West (legally known as "Ye"), and he had no one to blame but himself. After making several antisemitic remarks and regurgitating centuries-old conspiracy theories — while managing to offend other communities as well — West dug himself into a major hole. He was dropped by most of the brands he collaborated with in a very short span of time.

It's hard to imagine that any musician has had this kind of faceplant of epic proportions, but there were plenty of artists who came before, saying and doing things that offended the wrong people and led to a hit to their brand deals and, subsequently, their net worth. While no one else may have screwed up so badly that they went from billionaire to not-billionaire overnight, there are some shocking runners-up in the trying-to-ruin-their-career Olympics. Read on to find out which musicians have received blowback from self-inflicted controversies.

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson came under fire after allegations of abuse from multiple women, notably ex-girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood, in 2021. On her Instagram, the actress said that Manson began grooming her when she was a teenager and abused her for years, via Vanity Fair. She said she lived in fear which prevented her from naming Manson before. However, that hadn't stopped Wood from being vocal as a victim of abuse. She testified before Congress in 2018 and described in graphic detail her experience of sexual assault by an unnamed assailant, reports USA Today.

After her Instagram post, at least four other women came forward, also naming Manson as their abuser, per Vanity Fair and BBC News. Former personal assistant Ashley Walters said he psychologically abused her, and she's suffered PTSD (via Instagram). 

As a result, Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, was cut from an AMC Network show "Creepshow," in which he made an appearance, per Vanity Fair. CAA said they were dropping him as a client, and Loma Vista Recordings announced that they were no longer working with him (via Instagram). California state senator Susan Rubio then urged the FBI to begin an investigation into Manson, reports Vanity Fair. After the blowback, Manson made his own Instagram post, telling followers that the allegations were untrue and maintaining that his relationships were consensual, via Instagram.


It was at Rolling Loud Miami 2021, the ultimate hip-hop music festival (according to Billboard), where DaBaby's reputation soured. During his July 25 set, the rapper made very graphic and homophobic statements. Simply put, DaBaby disinvited gay people in the audience from holding up their cellphones or lighters in the air, notes Billboard. He also made controversial remarks about HIV and AIDS, saying the diseases could kill those infected within three weeks. The backlash was swift, but DaBaby only defended himself with more homophobic remarks on his Instagram stories. He made multiple attempts to apologize later on, notably addressing those afflicted with HIV and AIDS, but they fell short with the public.

He received criticism from collaborator Dua Lipa, Demi Lovato, Elton John, Questlove, Madonna, and GLAAD. Fashion brand BoohooMAN then dropped its collaboration with DaBaby, only a month after his line was released, reports Billboard. After being dropped from festivals Lollapalooza and NYC's Governor's Ball, he finally issued a formal apology.

Travis Scott

Travis Scott is no stranger to dangerous concert incidents. In 2015, Scott told fans to climb the barricades at Lollapalooza, leading to charges of reckless conduct, reports The New York Times. A few years later, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after encouraging people to rush the stage at an Arkansas concert, notes NBC Chicago. Not a year later, a fan sued Scott after an incident at a different concert led to him being paralyzed. 

That same chaos followed at Scott's November 2021 Astroworld Music Festival in Houston, Texas. Before the crowd surge that resulted in the deaths of 10 people, festival goers recalled a frenzied energy about the place, a ticking time bomb, per The New York Times. The crowds were unbearably thick, and people became violent. The recklessness was no accident; Scott had a history of thoughtlessness and encouraging dangerous behavior at his concerts, and many were willing to hold him accountable.

Scott was hardly the only person to blame. The concert's sponsor waited half an hour to shut down the event after the casualties began occurring. Scott afterward expressed sympathy and regret, but the damage was done. People criticized him for continuing despite spotting an ambulance in the crowd. A petition garnered 60,000 signatures, calling for Scott's ouster from Goldenvoice concerts, which sponsors Coachella. In December, that concert announced that Scott was removed from the lineup, via Variety.


On March 3, 1989, Madonna released a controversial and boundary-pushing music video for her song "Like a Prayer," notes the New York Times. Among the imagery that upset many were stigmata on her hands, an interracial marriage, burning crosses, and the overt sexuality with a saint that people considered sacrilegious (via YouTube). By then, Madonna had reached superstar status, and the video had the potential to shock people all over the world — and it did. The Vatican condemned it and later tried to block her concert stop in Italy, reports ET Online.

But the real scandal came with her collaboration with Pepsi-Cola. The company had given Madonna more than $5 million for a deal that included a commercial using the song "Like a Prayer," per AP. Although it didn't use the controversial imagery from the music video, the close association led to boycotts against Pepsi, with powerful religious groups encouraging their followers to avoid its products. The furor lasted until the soda company dropped the ad after it aired only twice. 

In 2017, Madonna revisited the controversy to scoff at the memory since Pepsi was embroiled in another controversy (the infamous Kendall Jenner protest ad), one that Madonna considered worse (via Instagram). That same day, she posted a photo of herself holding a Coca-Cola can (via Instagram).

Lil Wayne

In 2013, Lil Wayne appeared on Future's remix "Karate Chop." But before the album was released officially, the song was leaked along with a disturbing lyric by Lil Wayne, reports Rolling Stone. In it, the rapper made a crude and sexual remark but used the tragic 1955 beating of teenager Emmett Till as a metaphor. 

While on a trip to Mississippi, Till allegedly whistled at a white woman, which prompted others to savagely murder him and dump his body in a river. The white men accused were acquitted, but Till's death spurred support for civil rights and made him a tragic martyr of the movement.

A representative for Till's family reached out to Lil Wayne's management group, and Epic Records, which was responsible for the album, submitted an apology and changed the lyrics. Lil Wayne then wrote an open statement to the family and paid tribute to Till, per Rolling Stone. The Till family, however, noted that Lil Wayne's statement fell short of an actual apology. It didn't end there: soda brand Mountain Dew then dropped their endorsement deal with the rapper, notes CNN. Lil Wayne's publicist said the separation was due to creative differences, but PepsiCo confirmed it was due to his offensive song lyric.

Chris Brown

Once upon a time, Chris Brown was a scandal-free teen heartthrob. All of that ended in February 2009, after his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, was hospitalized with injuries Brown was responsible for, reports People. He was charged with felony assault and making criminal threats, and he pled guilty months later. He lost his Milk Mustache spot with the Body by Milk campaign (per E! News). Brown's hit song "Forever" had been used as Wrigley's Doublemint gum's official song in commercials, but in August 2009, he lost his endorsement deal with The Wrigley Company, per Rolling Stone

But Brown's legal troubles continued in the years since. He was arrested for assault again in 2013, per People, and later checked into a rehab center. There was an incident with another girlfriend in 2017 which led to a restraining order, and in 2019, he was arrested in France after rape allegations but was released without charge, reports AP News.

Morgan Wallen

Country star Morgan Wallen found fame on the popular singing competition show "The Voice," which led to an impressive career with various No.1 country hits (via BBC News) and an album that broke a record with 86 weeks on Billboard's Top 10 (via Billboard). But Wallen nearly lost all of this when footage of him, released by TMZ, showed him using the N-word at friends in February 2021. 

Wallen promptly issued an apology, but within a day of the footage being made public, his music was pulled from iHeartMedia, reports BBC News. Cumulus Media and SiriusXM did, as well, notes The Washington Post. Things only escalated from there. Country Music Television promised to stop promoting his work and the Academy of Country Music banned him from the 2021 awards show. The biggest hit came when Big Loud Records suspended him indefinitely from the label, which they announced on Twitter.

Wallen issued another apology, in which he asked fans to refrain from defending him, reports USA Today, and his career managed to survive the scandal — and then some. Despite the hit he took from online and radio platforms, his album sales actually saw a boost, per USA Today. Specifically, it increased by 102% that same week. His songs also topped Spotify's streaming charts.

Rick Ross

The sportswear company Reebok had its own problems with a troublesome client back in 2013 when rapper and collaborator Rick Ross effectively endorsed date rape in his song "U.O.E.N.O.," reports CNN. In a series of lyrics, Ross describes tainting a woman's drink with ecstasy and, once she's mentally incapacitated, sexually assaulting her. The song angered many people, and activists protested in front of a Reebok in New York City, aware of the brand's partnership with Ross. The rapper's plans to perform at Carleton University in Ottawa were put at risk when students attempted to block his concert, per CNN.

Ross didn't do himself many favors in the aftermath. He made two brief apologies on Twitter — one went exclusively to his business partners and Reebok — but because his statement suggested that fans misinterpreted his lyrics, it did nothing to mollify outrage. It was then that Reebok ended their partnership with Ross, stating that the way he chose to apologize was considered insensitive, per CNN.


In 2007, singer Akon came under fire after dancing inappropriately with a minor onstage during a concert in Trinidad, per Billboard. Footage from the concert revealed Akon imitating sexual movements with a 15-year-old girl. Akon later apologized to the girl, her family, and those shocked in Trinidad, reports the New York Times.

Akon was about to embark on a tour with Gwen Stefani, performing as the opening act for her Sweet Escape tour, but its leading sponsor pulled the rug out from under them. Verizon was expected to contribute $2 million to the tour, along with additional marketing, but they decided to ax the deal. The total value lost was estimated to be $3 million, notes The Guardian. Stefani's manager, Jim Guerinot, expressed confusion on why Stefani was also being penalized for Akon's actions, per Billboard.

Verizon went a step further and cleared Akon-related products from its stores, including ringtones and commercials featuring the rapper. The Sweet Escape tour went on and the song Akon and Stefani collaborated on, "The Sweet Escape," went on to reach No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart (via Billboard).


Morrissey, the English singer and former frontman for The Smiths, has long been controversial — and many would say he's a racist. There's definitely evidence for the claim. In 2010, he told The Guardian that Chinese people were a "subspecies" because of the reportedly poor treatment of animals in China. (Morrissey is a long-time animal rights activist, but that doesn't make those kinds of comments acceptable, obviously). In 2018, he said that London mayor Sadiq Khan, who is of Pakistani descent, couldn't speak English correctly, via Variety. The controversy escalated during a 2019 appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" when he wore a pin with a symbol of the far-right political party For Britain. A month later, Morrissey confirmed his support for the party and said accusations of racism against him were pointless since he believed the word "racist" has lost its potency, reports The Independent.

Expanding his repulsive worldview a bit, during the #MeToo wave, Morrissey openly wondered if the Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein victims deserved some blame for being sexually assaulted, per The Guardian.

So it was not hard to wonder why he was dropped from his record label, BMG. However, the label, which released three albums with Morrissey, didn't elaborate on reasons for the separation, per Variety. Morrissey, whose full name is Steven Patrick Morrissey, didn't take it well. He chalked up the split up to BMG's desire for more diversity and said the announcement went well with the general downbeat tempo of the year 2020, via Morrissey Central.


When it comes to rapper T.I.'s scandal, there wasn't so much of a controversy as there was an arrest and criminal charges. In 2007, the rapper was arrested for trying to buy unregistered machine guns and silencers, reports Billboard. His friend was shot to death in 2006 and T.I., whose real name is Clifford J. Harris Jr., believed that he was the real target. When T.I. purchased the weapons, he was unaware that the sellers were undercover federal agents. He received a prison sentence of one year and a day — a lot better than the 10 years he could've gotten — and a fine of $10,000. 

But that's not all he had to pay; his endorsement deal with General Motors was dropped, per the St. Louis American. T.I. said he lost approximately $10 to $12 million dollars from the business he lost because of his arrest, including concert tours and movies.

Trouble continued in 2010 when T.I. was arrested on drug charges, which violated his probation, notes MTV. He had been a spokesperson for AXE body spray, but his new 11-month sentence led to a split. Soon after, Remy Martin cognac dropped their endorsement deal with him, although they had only done business for four months, reports Rap Radar.

Kanye West

It began with a White Lives Matter shirt. In early October 2022, Kanye West — or Ye, as he's now known — lit up an internet firestorm after being photographed in a t-shirt with the slogan, which has been associated with white supremacist groups, explains the Southern Poverty Law Center. Things got increasingly disturbing as the month went on. 

After several bizarre claims, including an accusation that LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault had killed a fashion designer who died of cancer, West began making antisemitic statements and promoting conspiracy theories. The first antisemitic post led to his Instagram account getting restricted (via Forbes), and the second led to his Twitter account being suspended (via Forbes). He then went on a hate speech tour of sorts, spewing out false information about Jewish people on Tucker Carlson's FOX News show (also via Forbes), the talk show "The Shop," and Chris Cuomo's "NewsNation" (via Billboard). He doubled down on his comments on "Piers Morgan Uncensored," Forbes reported. On the show "Drink Champs," West falsely claimed that George Floyd died from fentanyl use, and used the offensive R-word to describe President Joe Biden.

West went on to lose his largest and most profitable business partners, almost instantly going from a billionaire to an estimated $400 millionaire. He lost partnerships with The Gap and Hollywood producer MRC, notes the Washington Post. Talent agency CAA dropped him as a client. The biggest hit came from Adidas, a collaboration that had added $1.5 billion to West's net worth, per Forbes.

Sean Combs

It's safe to say that hip-hop artist and mogul Sean Combs' world drastically changed on November 16, 2023. That day, Cassandra "Cassie" Ventura, a former girlfriend and singer, filed a lawsuit against Combs alleging that he had physically abused her, supplied her with drugs and alcohol, and raped her in 2018 while they were together, amongst other disturbing allegations. Combs settled the lawsuit the next day, but by December 6 three more women had filed lawsuits accusing him of rape and other similar behaviors. 

Combs has denied all allegations, including the suit that he settled with Ventura, but they undoubtedly damaged his reputation. By December 10, 18 brands had cut ties with his new e-commerce website Empower Global over the allegations. The brands that severed ties included the luxury apparel company House of Takura, high-end jewelry dealer Fulaba, clothing brands Nuudii System and No One Clothiers, and the luxury skin-care brand Tsuri. 

All of them stated that their decision to leave was directly related to the accusations, with Nuudii System's founder Annette Azan calling it a "moral imperative to end our relationship [with Combs]" (via Rolling Stone). In addition to those setbacks, Combs' business partner in the alcohol business Diageo is battling him in court to prevent Combs' likeness from appearing in an advertising campaign due to his negative publicity. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.