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Rihanna arrives at the 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles.Image by Jordan Strauss / AP

A collaboration that’s been rumored for months between Rihanna and MAC makeup has just been confirmed. The deal — including the rollout of four cosmetics collections over the next year, expected to bring in $15 million at retail — raises an inevitable question. Is there a downside to aligning with a scandalous star like Rihanna, and how do brands reconcile using her as a strong female spokesperson in the midst of her ongoing romantic ties to Chris Brown, the man who assaulted her?

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This is how MAC’s president John Demsey responded in Women’s Wear Daily:

Seemingly everything Rihanna does makes news on an almost-daily basis — including her on-again, off-again relationship with Brown, her allegedly abusive boyfriend. When asked if that coverage was a potential downside for MAC, Demsey didn’t skip a beat.

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“She’s a grown woman, and whatever makes her happy makes us happy. Life’s complicated. Far be it for us to judge,” he said.

“Whatever makes her happy makes us happy” seems like a frankly gross way to view a 25-year-old pop star’s reunion with her physically abusive ex, whose recent achievements amount to getting a battered woman’s face tattooed to his neck. Perhaps MAC can afford to be cavalier: The company is marketing to a group of young women who are less likely to care about the seemingly imprudent choices Rihanna makes. But not all brands willing to pay millions for celebrity spokespeople are also willing to overlook a star’s personal life. Experts agree that eventually, Rihanna is going to have to better manage the negative publicity she generates if she wants to keep landing lucrative endorsement deals as her career progresses. Because right now, her approval rating is at an all-time low.