The Kardashians are pretty much everywhere in our cultural subconscious, whether you love them or hate them. They dominate news stories month after month, and between them they have enough products and reality shows that it’s actually hard to navigate life without running into them. They aren’t loved by all, but they do have legions of admiring fans, ready to follow them wherever their latest ventures lead.
Even the people that dislike them normally cite vapid celebrity culture, or the fact that most of the clan isn’t really talented at anything– they just lucked their way into money and fame without having to do any real work. Still, there are other reasons to dislike them, most of them tucked away beneath the surface. We talk about stupid things that the family members have done all the time, but we don’t often examine the dodgy or questionable things that they have done.
It turns out that they have actually done a lot wrong in their time. Almost every member of the family has done something in the past that they really shouldn’t be proud of, some of them more than others. Instead of being dazzled by the magazine covers and the glamorous red carpets, it’s time to take a look at the darker side of the Kardashian and Jenner group. These 15 things are questionable enough that they might have caused a scandal for anyone else. Because it was the Kardashians, we blinked and moved on, already distracted by the next big news story to surface. But now they are exposed fully in the light.
15. Photoshopping Gordon Ramsay
Why you would attempt to Photoshop anyone who has an incredibly recognizable face is anyone’s guess, but someone on Kris Jenner’s team decided that it was a good idea. She took a shot with Gordon Ramsay, which both she and the star posted versions of on their respective Instagram pages. Eagle-eyed fans quickly noticed a difference between the two posts. A big difference. Gordon had left the image as it was, posting it with perhaps a quick filter or two. Kris, on the other hand, had had someone Photoshop the image to within an inch of its life. Not only that, but the Photoshopping was of a pretty poor quality– the skin on both faces looks odd and unnatural. If Kris wants us to believe that she looks as young as her famous daughters in real life, maybe she shouldn’t draw attention to it by altering the person she’s with– especially if they aren’t posting the doctored version too.
14. Having Interconnected Relationships
When you think about the relationships in the Jenner-Kardashian household, things start to get a little bit awkward. Take, for instance, Rob Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, half-siblings. Rob has had a very public relationship with Blac Chyna. That’s fine, but then you might raise an eyebrow at the fact that she already had a child by another man. That eyebrow might twitch when you find out that the father of said baby was a rapper called Tyga. Now it’s going to hit the ceiling when you recall that Tyga also had a high profile relationship with none other than Kylie Jenner. At the same time as Rob was with Chyna. So in the photo above, Tyga is with Kris Jenner. Their relationship is a little twisted. She is both his potential mother-in-law and the potential new step-grandmother to the child he had with another woman. Mad. It’s probably for the best that things didn’t work out.
13. Charging For Worship
Kris Jenner has done a lot of questionable things, and this is just the first one that we are going to come to. The original Kardashian teamed up with a pastor named Brad Johnson in 2012 to create a church. It’s called the California Community Church, but you have to be part of a more elite community in order to get in and worship there. If you want to join, you have to agree to donate $1,000 a month, every month– or 10% of your income. When you think about religions taking subscription fees from their members you normally think about scientology, not Christianity. A lot of people feel that forcing people to pay for church membership is actually unchristian, and stops believers from worshipping God in the right way. Churches should certainly not be a way for celebrities to show off their wealth and start a business.
12. Selling Faulty Products
In 2015, there was a lot of buzz around the first release of the Kylie Jenner lip kits. At the launch, there was so much publicity that they sold out in a matter of minutes, with many people having to wait to order more when the next batch came in. The problem was that there were a lot of issues with that first batch. The main thing was the brushes inside the kits, which were supposed to be used to apply the lip gloss– but a lot of them were almost completely unusable. They had been twisted up and splayed out inside the packaging, so that they didn’t form the correct shape for application. Jeffree Star (who has his own controversies, but that’s another story) was the first to highlight the problem on his vlog. Kylie ended up having to offer to replace all of the faulty kits after floods upon floods of people complained, both on social media and directly to the company.
11. Stealing From Family Members
Kids often do naughty things, but the problem with bad parenting is that they often don’t get punished or understand the consequences of their actions. To be fair to the kids, it’s tough to have a sense of perspective when your toys are worth more than other peoples’ cars. Still, that doesn’t excuse what Kylie and Kendall did when they were young teens, which really took them to the lowest of the low– stealing from a member of their own family. They lifted their father’s credit card and went on a huge shopping spree with it, as if they didn’t have enough opportunities to go shopping as it was. It’s such bad behaviour to do something like that, and it shows the lack of respect that they had for their parents while growing up. It also suggests that they may have had a problem with authority in general– and certainly no worry for consequences, as they could have faced jail time.
10. The Story Behind Kendall’s Name
Now, we’re not even going to get started on Kim and Kanye’s name choices– to be fair, Kanye had a say in the decision there and he’s only an honorary Kardashian. But there’s one name choice that outdates that one by a long way. It’s Kendall. Why does she have such an unusual name, you wonder? Well, the reason is going to make you shake your head in wonder. Her father, Bruce (before Caitlyn) was said to look like a Ken doll, at least according to a running joke in the family. That’s Ken as in Barbie’s boyfriend. So when he had a daughter, everyone apparently thought that it would be hilarious to name her after this little family in-joke. So they named her Kendall. She is named after a toy. A male toy. Just let that sink in for a second or two. It’s pretty unbelievable, and shows huge egos too.
9. Getting Married For Ratings
Kim Kardashian ended up getting engaged to basketball star Kris Humphries just 6 months after meeting him and it didn’t take long for cogs to start to turn. TV cameras were around to capture the proposal for the reality TV show. She seemed to thoroughly dislike him most of the time on camera, and they were certainly rushing things. Even the wedding itself was screened on television, with the wedding photos selling for $1 million. After 72 days, it was over. Kim said that they faced “irreconcilable differences”. But the groom, who was perhaps the last person in the world to catch on, suggested that it was all just a cruel publicity stunt on Kim’s part, designed to boost the TV ratings and get her some nice pocket money into the bargain. Kim filmed a broken-hearted scene for the show in which she explained how upset she was with tears rolling down her face, but she was happy enough to do four different takes.
8. Denying Obvious Surgeries
We’re not talking about the famous rear here– after Kim got an x-ray on TV to prove to the world that it was real, we’re not touching it. But Mrs. Kardashian-West has definitely been keeping a secret or two. She claims not to have had any surgery at all, but her nose has gradually become slimmer and her lips have gradually become fuller over the years. Compare her now with how she looked when she was hanging out with Paris Hilton as a teenager and the difference is obvious. And she’s not the only one. Kylie Jenner claimed for a long while that she had not had any work done, even when her lips surprisingly plumped up to a huge size overnight. Eventually, of course, she had to admit that she had had lip fillers. Not before leaving legions of fans to believe that she had achieved them through a more natural procedure, which many of them ended up copying.
7. Endorsing Fake Diet Pills
Kim and Kourtney got themselves into a spot of bother after agreeing to endorse some so-called diet pills. They appeared in a series of billboard adverts for a supplement called Quick Trim. The slogan ‘Burn it up, flush it out’ appeared next to their smiling faces, along with copy which claimed that they had managed to get great figures thanks to using the pills. Of course, a little rudimentary exploration discovered that the pills contained nothing more than caffeine. Since it’s actually impossible to change your figure just through caffeine– if it wasn’t, most of us would be stick thin– a group of women from New York ended up launching a huge lawsuit against the sisters for $5 million. Quick Trim actually backed down and offered refunds to most of the customers, which meant that Kim and Kourtney were miraculously off the hook. Not bad for a couple of people who consider $5 million to be something like petty cash.
6. Spreading Paternity Doubts
Another hugely controversial moment which cropped up on the show was when Kris Jenner raised some questions about her daughter Khloe’s paternity. Apparently, Khloe has always been sensitive about this subject: she is the only one in the family to have naturally blonde hair, and has always looked a little different (read: bigger) than her sisters. There was only one way for Kris to handle this: reassure her daughter that there was nothing to worry about, and bury the matter as a family secret. Just kidding! She wrote an autobiography in which she openly discussed having an affair around the time of Khloe’s conception, which was apparently just one in a long string. She also then brought it up on Keeping Up With the Kardashians just to humiliate Khloe even further. They joked around and swabbed Kris’s mouth– not that that would help, since her involvement in the pregnancy was never in question.
5. Cultural Appropriation
The Kardashians have an Armenian background. Make a note of that, because it’s the only culture that they can really call upon without it being cultural appropriation. Now let’s go through the laundry list of faux pas that the girls have made! Kylie Jenner braided her hair into cornrows and was soon included in the hashtag #whitegirlsdoitbetter, which is an ironic attack on cultural appropriation. Amandla Stenberg called her out on it, but Kylie brushed it all off. Previously, Khloe was also seen multiple times wearing a Native American headdress, which was met with heavy criticism from those who actually have Native American heritage. Before that, Scott Disick dressed up in traditional Arabian clothing while Khloe posed alongside him and added her own fairly offensive caption (which we won’t repeat here). And finally, remember that ‘break the internet’ cover Kim did for Paper magazine? You do, don’t pretend you don’t. Well, turns out it was a remake of a shot the same photographer had previously done, which originally starred a black woman from a collection called ‘Jungle Fever’. Whew.
4. Wearing A Niqab
We saved one instance of cultural appropriation for an extra entry because it’s just so dumb we can’t even believe it happened. Khloe, who just can’t stop making these mistakes, posted an image of herself wearing a niqab on Instagram. She was visiting Dubai, but the thing is, it’s not essential for women to dress in this way out there. In fact, the niqab should only be worn by women of the Muslim faith. With a heavy religious meaning behind the garment, it was beyond insensitive for her to put it on when she is not a follower of the religion herself. Followers were quick to blast her for it, telling her not to treat a culture’s traditional dress as a costume. Others were quick to point out that racial insensitivity can cause problems for those who genuinely wear the niqab in public in western countries, so her actions were even more thoughtless.
3. Going For Blood Facials
Kim made a real stir a few years ago when she posted a heavily graphic image to her social media pages, which showed her face covered in blood. She wasn’t the victim of a vicious attack, nor was she trying to raise awareness of an important cause. Instead, she was just having a new type of facial. The blood facial involves having blood taken from your arm and then reinserted into your face with hundreds of tiny needles. It’s also largely pointless. She actually seemed to agree that it wasn’t a great treatment, saying that she didn’t enjoy the feeling. But she was still keen enough to share the image with all of her followers, thereby encouraging them to go and get one for themselves. Because Kim is nothing if not a class act. Why anyone would want to get this treatment in the first place is beyond us.
2. The “Smell-Off”
This was perhaps the lowest moment on the show, and one that definitely represented a challenge to the many years feminists have spent encouraging women to love their own bodies. The Kardashian sisters had what they termed a smell-off, to see who smelled the nicest. But it wasn’t about perfume or even body odour. No, this was about wiping a towel between their legs and then shoving it in each other’s faces to see which of them smelled most like fruit juice. Kourtney invited Khloe to sniff hers first, getting the report that it smelled like a tropical island. Kim then repeated the task, and was told she smelt like flowers. Those ladies really plumbed the depths of finding out how un-classy and ladylike you can be. It was also a serious TMI. To any actual ladies reading this, remember: your natural scent is not something that you need to change, and in fact trying to do so could be harmful to your health.
1. Making Bad Parenting Decisions
Finally, the most questionable thing of all is the way that Kris managed her daughter’s ascension to the spotlight. You see, there’s a funny thing about the infamous tape of Kim that was leaked. Private home videos can’t be released as commercial DVDs because you need signed consent from all parties. Here’s a second funny thing. Paris Hilton’s tape leaked the same year as Kim’s, and they both got reality shows from it– with Paris going ahead and her close friend Kim following behind. Now, let’s take a second to think about who orchestrated all of this. It couldn’t possibly have been Kim’s momager, could it? Right after all that, Kim also got another fame boost by posing for Playboy, an experience which she described as uncomfortable. Who decided that she would be going ahead and doing it anyway? Who do you think? The same person that books all her jobs– her momager. So to summarize, Kris made her family famous by sharing her daughter’s naked body with the world.