The fallout from rapper [artist id="1225081"]T.I.[/artist]'s upcoming return to prison for a probation violation has already begun to take its toll on the Atlanta MC's pocketbook. After a judge's decision on Friday to send T.I. (born Clifford Harris) back to prison for 11 months for violating the terms of his probation following an arrest in September on drug charges, AXE Body Spray announced on Tuesday that it is severing ties with the rapper. A representative said in a statement, "We will no longer feature T.I. in our promotional campaign."
While AXE did not immediately drop T.I. from its "AXE Music" promotion after the arrest, a spokesperson said at the time that the company was "troubled" by the incident, a traffic stop during which Tip and wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle were found in possession of the drug Ecstasy. According to police documents obtained by several media outlets leading up to the hearing, at the time of his arrest, the rapper tested positive for opiates and was also associating with a felon, who was present in his vehicle during the bust.
"T.I. and AXE partnered earlier this year for a promotional campaign," the spokesperson said last month after the September 1 arrest. "We were encouraged that the entertainer was working to become a more positive role model for others. AXE is committed to respecting and upholding the law and promoting a positive image to consumers ... We are reviewing our promotional activities."
On Wednesday (October 20) a spokesperson for AXE said that the plan all along was to have different artists perform special shows each month in different cities and then to keep performance footage and other related material on the AXE website until the promotion was over. But in light of the judge's decision, AXE removed all T.I.-related material from the site on Friday, while similar images and video from such AXE Music acts as Weezer and O.A.R. will continue to be available on the site indefinitely.
After serving a seven-month prison stint for a 2007 weapons charge, T.I. partnered with the company earlier this year on a deal for advertising appearances and a secret "One Night Only" concert that took place at Capitale in New York on August 26. It was the oft-troubled rapper's first concert since being released from prison, a star-studded affair featuring appearances by Swizz Beatz, Mary J. Blige, Keri Hilson and B.o.B, among others.
T.I. is required to turn himself in to begin serving his prison sentence within the next two weeks.
What do you think about AXE's decision to drop T.I. from its promotional campaign? Tell us in the comments.