Ahead of the premiere of the Kardashians’ new eponymous reality show on Hulu, Kim Kardashian earned herself a slew of (mostly bad) press due to her comments about work ethic, which she made to Variety. In case you somehow avoided the internet for the week or so of responses that followed (give me tips so I can do the same for the Oscars discourse), when asked what advice she’d give to women in business, Kim replied, “Get your fucking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days. Show up and do the work.” After (rightfully) receiving a good amount of backlash, Kim has decided to apologize—sort of. In true Kardashian fashion, the apology is half-assed and low-key insulting.
The wheels of the Kardashian media engine never stop turning, and this week, Kim Kardashian sat down with Robin Roberts for an interview on Good Morning America. Among other topics, she offered a halfhearted apology for her now-infamous remarks on work ethic, telling Roberts that her comment “really became a soundbite with no context.” The alleged context? Kardashian explains that the question before the one about advice for women in business was one about how, after 20 years of being in the business, she’s famous for being famous. She says, “my whole tone and attitude changed with the previous question that went into that question about what advice would you give to women.” She then goes on to sort of amending her previous advice to women, saying, “having a social media presence and being on a reality show does not mean overnight success, and you have to work really hard to get there even if it might seem like it’s easy.”
It’s not particularly original for a celebrity to blame their shitty take on context—recently, Damon Albarn did the same thing when he got roasted for saying Taylor Swift doesn’t write her own music. The context is that Albarn was discussing with the LA Times how vulnerable it can feel to be a solo act, saying, “You learn whether the songs are any good or whether they were popular at the time because of the sound and the attitude. It’s a day of reckoning — and one, to be honest, that not much modern music could withstand.” Interviewer Mikael Wood asked, “You think a lot of modern musicians are relying on sound and attitude?” Albarn replied, “Name me someone who’s not,” to which Wood replied, “She may not be to your taste, but Taylor Swift is an excellent songwriter.” Albarn said, “She doesn’t write her own songs,” and then went on to say, among other things, “co-writing is very different to writing.”
That’s far too much context than was necessary to understand what Albarn meant (hint: it’s exactly what he said), but the point is, Albarn said his remarks were “reduced to clickbait” when they were actually just reported. Similarly, the context for Kim Kardashian’s “get your fucking ass up and work” comments is that she and her sisters were doing a video interview with Variety and they were asked to give advice to women in business. That’s it, that’s the context. The fact that Kim may have been asked a kind of crappy and tired question right before is irrelevant. Kim has all the media training in the world; she more than almost anyone should know how to bounce back from a bad question. It would be one thing if she was specifically asked about growing a social media business or giving advice to aspiring influencers, and that would be important context, but she wasn’t.
Kardashian said that her comments that “nobody wants to work these days” was not “a blanket statement towards women or to feel like I don’t respect the work, or think that they don’t work hard.” But in the Variety interview, she straight-up said, “it seems like nobody wants to work these days.” Kardashian says to says to Roberts, “it was taken out of context, but I’m really sorry if it was received that way,” but really, what other way is there to receive it? And saying “I’m sorry if…” is a classic non-apology that fails to take responsibility. What “if” is there?? The briefest of audits of the internet would have revealed that Kim’s comments were, in fact, received as a blanket statement towards women and a lack of respect for their work. Earlier in the clip, Kardashian even agrees with Roberts that the statement “got a lot of backlash.” In the immortal words of Lauren Conrad, you know what you did.
This all just feels par for the course for the Kardashians. They want the attention of saying something controversial without the blowback. They want the benefits of Photoshopping without being called out for it. I don’t even really have any energy to be mad about this non-apology; I just wish Kim would take the first page out of the reality TV playbook and say what she means and own it.