Kim Kardashian, cultural-appropriation peccadilloes aside, has tended to be the most innocuous member of her family. And she did earn a shit-ton of goodwill after expertly exposing Taylor Swift last year. Kourtney is also relatively harmless, but no one thinks about her when she’s not having drama with her ex Scott Disick. Khloe is certainly in contention for messiest, sticking her nose into other family members’ feuds for the attention and generally acting vile on social media (e.g. her attacks on Amber Rose and Chloe Moretz). Kris Jenner is the family mastermind, so she has the most blood on her hands. Caitlyn Jenner, when she’s not busy championing Donald Trump while also pretending she’s any type of helpful trans advocate, also earned her license from the Laura Bush Driving & Traffic School. Then there’s Kylie Jenner, who steals from every black woman she encounters, and Kendall Jenner, who’s had a really terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year of gross decisions.
But nobody takes the cake as the worst Kardashian more than the self-righteous, hypocritical, abusive asshole known as Rob Kardashian.
Rob’s history of troubling behavior toward women started long before posting revenge porn of Blac Chyna, who is the mother of his child, and subsequent allegations of physical abuse. It ostensibly began with his engagement to former member of The Cheetah Girls, Adrienne Bailon.
Bailon, who was featured on Keeping Up With the Kardashians during her relationship with Rob, gave an interview to Latina about their relationship and how his fans treated her horribly even in the wake of his infidelity: “It’s common knowledge that he cheated on me. It always bothered me that people were like, ‘Pero, why couldn’t you forgive him?’ Why are women always the ones who have to forgive? If you cheated on a man, he would be like, ‘You’re disgusting, and I want nothing to do with you.’ But women, we’re supposed to be like, ‘He messed up. He made a mistake.’”
The idea that anyone could have been on Rob’s side in his subsequent relationships after he cheated on a woman publicly and played the victim shows the perverted nature that celebrity can take on. It’s a reminder that situations like Beyoncé’s Lemonade, where the majority of Americans are on the side of the woman who has been wronged, are exceptions to the rule; most situations like this still heavily slant toward victim-blaming.
In the midst of his relationship with Bailon, Rob somehow thought it was funny to pretend he was slapping her in front of his family. It was a prank, but Keeping Up With the Kardashians played domestic abuse for laughs. So is it any wonder his behavior continued? That his fans continued to harass Bailon after their split? Chris Brown. Johnny Depp. It’s hardly just famous men who get passes like this, but it takes on an even more sick, ringside-at-the-circus level of stanning when the man is famous.
To “stan” for someone (be an adoring fan) might be amusing internet slang these days, but when Eminem birthed the term in his song “Stan,” he did so via a dark story of a man who abused and killed his wife in order to curry favor with his idol. It’s chilling to watch the music video these days, given how eager celebrity fan armies are to drag and attack their faves’ detractors online. It’s dark and ignorant when a Chris Brown stan tweets: “He could slap me!” But when men like this start harassing women in real life and voting sexual predators into the White House, it stops being impolite and starts getting real.
Rob’s brief relationship with Rita Ora has spawned multiple jokes against Ora. Granted, she’s a pop star based on the sheer determination of the tabloids to make her one rather than the strength of her music, but in the context of her relationship with Rob, she’s earned none of the vitriol that’s come her way online. Ora allegedly cheated on Rob during the relationship, which caused him (like, five seconds after he cheated on Bailon) to publicly blast her on Twitter in a since-deleted rant: “She cheated on me with nearly 20 dudes while we were together, I wonder how many she will sleep with now that we are apart? But I mean 20?!!! How can a woman who is so busy trying to start her career have time to be with so many dudes all while in a relationship? I’m actually disgusted a woman could give up her body to more than 20 dudes in less than a year’s time while trying to start a career.”
Never mind that Rob has no career of his own besides selling socks out of the trunk of a Pinto, and his relationship with Ora wasn’t anything to write home about (The Daily Mail listed them as breaking up and getting back together nearly every other week in 2012).
This is exactly the kind of behavior you’d expect from a man who slapped a woman on TV for the lulz. Calling her a whore on Twitter was second nature to him. No wonder he did the same thing to Blac Chyna on Wednesday—only this time upping the ante to revenge porn. No wonder he called his own sister Kim a whore on television and Gone Girl online. Rob’s relationship with Blac Chyna has mostly been stunting for the cameras, but the one thing that’s remained true is when Rob feels cornered by a woman, he resorts to slut-shaming and abusive behavior.
The Kardashians make a lot of excuses for the clan when it comes to cultural appropriation, but they generally try even half-hearted attempts at wokeness when it comes to race, like Kim penning a letter about racism after having daughter North and whatever the fuck Kendall thought she was doing on that Pepsi commercial set. But when it comes to domestic abuse, they’ve remained relatively silent. It’s a shame that this comes during a Keeping Up season where the family has been depicting the aftermath of Kim’s abduction and robbery at gunpoint in Paris. When the family member is one of their own, the trauma must be taken seriously. But when it’s any other woman, she’s on her own.