Much of Kim Kardashian’s fame rests on her ability to flaunt her extravagant lifestyle while also coming across as a public figure who is still relatable to regular people and who cares about the challenges of the less fortunate.
Kardashian does this by revealing curated dish about her personal life on social media or on reality TV. Sometimes she’ll garner sympathy by sharing information about family trials, such as when she released a statement about her husband Kanye West’s bipolar disorder this summer. In defending West as a “brilliant but complicated” artist who deserves “empathy,” she managed to make some people forget that he had said harmful things about their daughter and has reportedly inserted himself into efforts by the Trump campaign to add chaos to the presidential election.
But on Tuesday, Kardashian displayed none of her usual PR skills in keeping her crass self-promoting in check, when she shared a series of tweets that showed her celebrating her 40th birthday by hosting her famous friends and family members on a private tropical island vacation.
In the tweets, she tried to somehow come across as in sync with regular people who have missed out on “normal” activities like going on vacations or gathering with family due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions.
But people responding to her tweets overwhelmingly said her messages and photos were horrifically tone-deaf and insensitive to the day-to-day realities of Americans, who have lost jobs, can’t go to school and have missed out on celebrating important rites of passage and spending time with family and friends.
“I couldn’t visit my grandpa when he was in the hospital with heart failure for three weeks in March. We canceled our August wedding and our November honeymoon. I have hugged my mom once in 8 months. This is beyond privilege, this is disgusting,” wrote Ida Skibenes in reply to one of Kardashian’s tweets.
Another common response pointed to the fact that COVID-19 has killed more than 226,000 Americans:
— Thunder_KitKat (@_elliewest) October 27, 2020
Kardashian began her thread by writing:
Before COVID, I don’t think any of us truly appreciated what a simple luxury it was to be able to travel and be together with family and friends in a safe environment. pic.twitter.com/lhzLIdutlZ
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) October 27, 2020
She continued: “After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.”
“We danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more,” she concluded. “I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is. #thisis40.”
We danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more. I realize that for most people,