The Chris Brown sandwich

Apparently, it was supposed to be funny.

In an effort to capitalize on the celebrity of Chris Brown, the hip hop artist who was convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend Rihanna, a Georgia restaurant recently created a new sandwich: “The Caribbean Black and Bleu.”

The restaurant slyly tweeted: “Chris Brown won’t beat you up for eating this unless your name starts with R and ends with A.”

After a public outcry, the sandwich was pulled from the menu.

That’s the good news.

The bad news? This is not an isolated incident.

Belvedere Vodka recently launched an online campaign that showed a grinning young man who seems to be trying to force sexual contact on a frightened young woman. The tag line: “Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.” The company pulled the ad, but many suspect the whole thing was simply a PR campaign.

Last year, men’s clothing retailer Topman was forced to withdraw T-shirts that read: “I’m so sorry, but,” followed by excuses: “You provoked me . . . I was drunk . . . I didn’t mean it . . . ”

It seems violence against women has graduated from social crisis to trendy marketing campaign. The cultural zeitgeist is in motion and businesses have noticed.