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PREACH IT! As of this second, T.I., someone with money still likes you

September 9, 2010 |  5:00 pm

T.I. Clifford Harris Seven days have passed since rapper T.I. faced an arrest on suspicion of felony drug possession. Getting arrested while famous is no huge oddity these days, but here's what is: Holding on to a sponsor's paycheck afterward.

A full week after his bust, T.I. still — officially, anyway — has a professional relationship with AXE body spray. The company has issued a statement indicating it is "reviewing" its ties with T.I., but it also hasn't dumped him. Yet.

That's surprising — almost sweet, by Hollywood standards. Pepsi agonized for about two weeks before dumping Madonna during the height of her "Like a Prayer" controversy in 1989. It also took about two weeks for consulting firm Accenture to sever its relationship with Tiger Woods, and roughly a month for Nutella to jettison Kobe Bryant following his arrest for sexual assault in 2003. (Charges were later dismissed.)

But, increasingly, companies are streamlining their celebrity-punting techniques and are much less hesitant to cut a star loose — quickly. Less than a week after a photo emerged showing ...

... Michael Phelps smoking pot, Kellogg announced it would not renew the swimmer's contract. (Other sponsors, including Omega and Subway, stood by the athlete, but only because he apologized for his behavior.)

The fact that AXE hasn't out-and-out fired T.I. yet probably indicates some frenetic behind-the-scenes negotiations. Attorneys have told us in the past that, in situations like this, companies may leverage their displeasure into a new, less expensive contract with their penitent talent.

Whatever happens next, we can say this: At this moment, T.I. most likely smells delicious.

— Leslie Gornstein

Photo: Clifford "T.I." Harris in Beverly Hills on Aug. 20. Photo credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times.

Related dispatches from the Ministry of Gossip:

T.I. headed back to Atlanta to see probation officer

Rapper T.I. and wife Tiny arrested on drug possession charges in West Hollywood

'Takers' Hollywood premiere: Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, T.I. and more

Rapper T.I. and Tameka Cottle get married, and married -- and married again

Rapper Clifford 'T.I.' Harris out of prison, into a halfway house