May 4 , 2007
Adapted from FoxNews.com
Verizon has ended its partnership with hip-hop star Akon after he simulated the rape of a 15-year-old girl on stage at a show in Trinidad.
The girl thought she had won a dance contest, but instead got a simulated rape, which was caught on video.
"This week the partnership ended," Verizon said in a statement sent to FOX News. "We have music services on our cellphone service and we were promoting him as one of the artists. The other part of the sponsorship was the Gwen Stefani tour, of which he was an opening act. We are no longer sponsoring the tour."
Patrick Manning, the prime minister of Trinidad, called for a formal investigation of the explicit April performance at a local club, which has since been closed by authorities.
"I have taken very careful notice of this matter and the owner of [the club] owes it to the public to take responsibility," Manning said. "I will be interfacing with [the club] because that kind of thing should never be allowed to happen in this country."
The girl is the daughter of a world ministry pastor. She apologized for going on stage with the singer, saying she regrets attending the concert.
The teen said she was permitted into the club despite being underage, and was part of what was characterized as an impromptu dance competition announced by the singer. A trip to Africa was the prize. But after she "won" the contest, Akon announced that he was actually the prize.
"I got carried away, I started to dance as well, but I never thought it was going to be like that," the girl said. "I was shocked. My head was hitting the floor.”
Other officials in Trinidad have called for Akon to be banned from further public performances on the island.
The video has been pulled from the popular video site YouTube, though copies of it can be found on many other Internet sites.
Akon has served jail time for armed robbery and drug sales but still has appeared as a guest performer on "American Idol" and received corporate support from companies like Verizon.