The Kardashians’ Most Out Of Touch Moments

The Kardashian-Jenner family members are no strangers to scandals and controversies. Some of their biggest critics have even suggested that these TV personalities might intentionally bring on the drama just to profit from it. But over the years, every single member of this popular clan has faced backlash for one reason or another. While their scandals have been different, there’s one thing for which all of the KarJenners have been called out: appearing to be tone deaf or “out of touch with reality,” as one Twitter user put it — despite, y’know, being reality stars. Oftentimes, these controversial moments have been met with harsh online criticism from the offended or hurt parties.

In 2020 alone, as many people around the globe suffered through loss and were unable to pay their bills amid the COVID-19 pandemic (via Forbes), the KarJenner family somehow still couldn’t read the room. (We guess that can happen when every member of a particular famous family is worth millions of dollars.) We’ll dive into all that below, but it’s worth noting that the ensuing backlash led to a piece by The Atlantic that November, aptly titled, “The Pandemic Clarified Who the Kardashians Really Are.” The article noted: “As Keeping Up With the Kardashians nears its 20th and final season, its family of influencers has lost the capacity to balance relatability and spectacle.”

Let’s look back at the Kardashians’ most out of touch moments.

'Kim, there's people that are dying' was just the beginning

Ever since the 2007 premiere of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. But there was one iconic moment early on in the series that showed just how out of touch this famous family could seem — even back then. The show’s 20th and final season is set to air in 2021, but fans still can’t stop talking about an infamous Season 6 incident involving Kim Kardashian and a diamond earring.

According to The Washington Post, the KarJenners were on a family vacation in Bora Bora when Kim’s then-boyfriend and future-ex-husband, Kris Humphries, threw her into the water, she lost an uninsured $75,000 earring in the ocean, and basically had a meltdown. After Kim began sobbing, saying, “My earring’s gone, f**k. Oh my gosh, I’m gonna cry, my diamond earring,” she then went around to various family members to reveal the oh-so-tragic news. While their momager, Kris Jenner, comforted Kim and offered to help, sister Kourtney Kardashian had other plans. Amid the commotion, Kourtney peeked her head out of her fancy hut to say what fans around the world were thinking: “Kim, there’s people that are dying.”

To this day, Kourtney’s remark is still one of the most quoted, meme-able Kardashian-Jenner moments in pop culture history. Sure, Kim’s breakdown over an earring was a bit out of touch, but we’re not mad about all the memes it’s given us.

All about that Kardashian Kard controversy

During the early seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé Kardashian found a new way to reach fans by launching their very own prepaid credit card, the Kardashian Kard, in 2010. However, the card itself was out of reach for their intended audience: teens, per Forbes. According to CNN Money, the Kardashian sisters were forced to “terminate” the card just weeks after it launched. 

This move made headlines after Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal “question[ed] the legality of the card’s ‘pernicious and predatory fees'” in a letter to the card’s issuer. Blumenthal stated, “Among the prepaid debit cards now on the market, the Kardashian Kard is particularly troubling because of its high fees combined with its appeal to financially unsophisticated young adult Kardashian fans. ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ is impossible using these cards.” Noting that regular bank debit cards are usually free and don’t charge fees, CNN Money reported that a 12-month Kardashian Kard cost $99.95 (yes, that’s just to own it). On top of that, there was a $7.95 monthly fee, as well as additional fees for doing simple things, like putting money on the card and speaking with an operator. 

When the Kardashians decided to close the chapter on this project, “only 250 consumers had purchased the card.” RIP Kardashian Kard (although, it’s probably safe to say that you aren’t missed).

Kim Kardashian outraged fans when she promoted 'appetite suppressant lollipops'

As time went on, one would think that the Kardashian-Jenner family had lived and learned from their early controversial moments, but that has unfortunately not been the case. Fast forward to 2018, when Kim Kardashian shared an Instagram ad promoting Flat Tummy Co.’s controversial “appetite suppressant lollipops.” According to Flat Tummy Co.’s website, the chemical in the lollipops, Satiereal, makes you feel full, so if you “have one whenever you start to feel hungry … it’ll help hold you over until your next meal!” 

In her caption, Kim wrote (via Women’s Health), “You guys… @flattummyco just dropped a new product. They’re Appetite Suppressant Lollipops and they’re literally unreal.” Unsurprisingly, Kim received waves of backlash as fans felt she was promoting borderline disordered-eating behavior. “I actually can’t BELIEVE the nerve of Kim Kardashian promoting ‘appetite suppressant lollipops’. her audience is made up of mostly impressionable young people who already have so much pressure on them to look and be perfect, we all deserve so much better,” one person tweeted, while another Twitter user chimed in with, “Eating disorders are a very real issue for a lot of young people and to see Kim Kardashian actively encouraging her fans to develop an unhealthy relationship with food is terrifying and gravely concerning.”

According to Life & Style, many others publicly called her out, including actress Jameela Jamil, who referred to Kim as a “terrible and toxic influence on young girls.” Needless to say, Kim deleted this paid promotion post.

The KarJenner sisters have been accused of appropriating cultures for years

As far as the Kardashian-Jenners’ scandals go, fans have found some moments much more problematic than others. For example, the KarJenner sisters have been accused of cultural appropriation multiple times over the years, which has been called out for being not only out of touch, but harmful. Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Khloé Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian have all been seen wearing their hair in cornrow braids on multiple occasions, and have also been criticized for donning Native American headdresses, wearing significant religious pieces, and altering their skin tone in photos.

People have gone as far as saying the KarJenner sisters partake in “blackfishing.” In case you aren’t familiar with that term, blackfishing was coined by journalist Wanna Thompson and, according to Health, it “describes the phenomenon of non-Black … public figures” changing “their looks to appear Black or mixed race.”

As these moments continued to pile up, the Kardashians’ apparent cultural appropriation became a major conversation topic online. “Part of this issue is that when Black women wear their hair in braids it’s sometimes seen as ‘unprofessional’ and can literally violate dress code at some workplaces/schools,” one person commented on a photo of Kim in braids. “But when white women do it, it’s ‘trendy.'” Unfortunately, despite the ongoing backlash, the Kardashian-Jenner sisters have continued this behavior.

Kendall Jenner's Pepsi commercial was accused of trivializing Black Lives Matter

In April 2017, Kendall Jenner’s controversial Pepsi commercial debuted … and was then pulled offline in a matter of days. The ad, which came shortly after a series of Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality towards Black people, resembled the BLM movement and these protests — but focused on people laughing, hugging, and high-fiving, rather than the important messages about systemic injustice. In the climactic scene of the commercial, a police officer accepts a can of Pepsi from Kendall (who is obviously not Black). After he’s handed the Pepsi, the cop shares an appreciative smile and the protestors celebrate.

According to The New York Times, the commercial was, as activists said, “Precisely the opposite of their real-world experience of protesting police brutality.” Elle Hearns, a Black Lives Matter organizer, told the outlet, “[It] plays down the sacrifices people have historically taken in utilizing protests. No one is finding joy from Pepsi at a protest. That’s just not the reality of our lives.” Even Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King, sarcastically tweeted, “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi.”

On an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians that aired later that year, Kendall tearfully apologized for her involvement in the ad. “I would never purposely hurt someone ever,” the model said (via ET). “I just felt so f**king stupid. The fact that I would offend other people or hurt other people was definitely not the intent.”

Kylie Jenner's tone-deaf response to the 'Kylie Jenner Challenge'

While speaking with Complex in 2016, Kylie Jenner revealed that the reason behind her decision to get lip fillers stemmed back to middle school. “It has been an insecurity of mine all my life,” she said. “This guy I kissed was like, ‘Your lips are really small but you’re a really good kisser. I didn’t think you were gonna be good at kissing.’ It was so rude.”

And so, the makeup mogul started to get her lips filled. Around this same time, she also launched her famous lip kits. But just before her lip kits dropped, the infamous “Kylie Jenner Challenge” went viral. Fans who took part in this internet challenge placed their lips into a small cup, sucked the air out, and created friction until their lips swelled up to resemble Kylie’s. This didn’t always go as planned, though, and fans quickly started sharing pictures of their bruised, swollen, painful-looking lips. 

Doctors soon condemned the challenge, with one telling Seventeen, “The new trend … is quite concerning. Not only can significant pain, swelling, and bruising result from these suction techniques, but there is potential risk for scarring and permanent disfigurement.” While Kylie didn’t come up with the challenge, she also didn’t explicitly condemn it when she tweeted out, “I want to encourage people/young girls like me to be YOURSELF & not be afraid to experiment with your look.” This left some fans calling out Kylie’s response to the dangerous internet craze as not serious enough. 

The Kardashians' out-of-touch pandemic posts enraged fans

Clearly, the Kardashian-Jenner family have faced years of backlash for their out-of-touch moments — but the criticism only seemed to intensify in 2020. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns that March, Kim Kardashian shared a snapshot of herself with her husband, Kanye West, and their four children on Instagram. “What is everyone doing to keep your kids entertained???” she wrote in the caption, before asking fans for “some fun ideas” for the famous family of six. This led to a swift reality check from struggling fans. “Lol go in your huge yard and let them swim, jump, ride bikes, slip and slide, jumping house… I mean…” one person commented (via MTV News), while another wrote, “Imagine being bored in your home movie theater when people can’t find or afford formula for their babies right now.”

Unfortunately, the KarJenners’ social media posts only got more controversial and seemingly insensitive with time. That May, Kourtney Kardashian took to her Instagram Stories to reveal that sister Khloé Kardashian had toilet papered her house. Unsurprisingly, many social media users shared their frustration that the Keeping Up With the Kardashians stars would waste an essential item, which people were struggling to find during the pandemic. “It angers me that the Kardashians are showing off that Kourtney got tp’d when there is a toilet paper shortage and people really need that and they are uselessly wasting it,” one fan tweeted. “Wow preaching about social distancing and all this stuff is FAKE.”

That time the Kardashians traveled for Kim's 40th birthday amid a pandemic

If you ask the Twittersphere, the KarJenners arguably reached their peak level of out of touch in October 2020. For Kim Kardashian’s 40th birthday, the star infamously rented a private island and flew over 20 family members and friends there to celebrate. Kim clarified that everyone had been tested and quarantined before attending, and shared multiple posts documenting the trip, even tweeting out that she felt “so humbled and blessed.” Kim wrote in one post, “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.” 

Clearly, this was something that most people couldn’t do in 2020, and even Kim admitted that she was “humbly reminded of how privileged [her] life is.” But the way the Kardashian-Jenners appeared to flaunt their luxury vacation while so many others suffered amid the ongoing pandemic didn’t sit well with others, leading several fans, critics, and even fellow celebs to call them out. One person called the trip “so grotesque,” while British broadcaster Piers Morgan chimed in to call Kim a “spoiled, tone-deaf imbecile.” 

However, none of this backlash stopped Khloé Kardashian from defending Kim and the private island birthday celebration on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “This year is a frustrating year. I get it,” she said, but added, “It’s her 40th, and this something that she really wanted to do for us.”

Kourtney Kardashian promoted 'Vote Kanye' merch before the election

Amid the 2020 election — which was dubbed “the most important in our lifetimes” — Kim Kardashian’s husband, Kanye West, infamously announced his (unsurprisingly ill-fated) run for president that July. Kim showed her support via retweet, but many people — including Jennifer Aniston — warned against voting for the rapper during such an important and close race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. “If you vote for Kanye, who literally has no chance in hell of winning, and you DIDNT vote against Trump — Trump wins. Very simple. You’re taking votes away from Biden who is the only candidate truly up against Trump,” one person tweeted, while others pointed to Kanye’s history of problematic comments about serious topics like sexual abuse and slavery. 

While this conversation was happening online, Kourtney Kardashian posted an image of herself wearing some “Vote Kanye” merch that October, while also promoting the campaign merchandise on her lifestyle website, Poosh. Fans were quick to call her out, with one person tweeting, “She has 102 million followers. This is one of the most irresponsible things I’ve seen a celebrity do this entire election cycle.” 

Kanye ultimately dropped out of the race, and while the KarJenner sisters used their platforms to encourage people to vote, they never officially endorsed a candidate (aside from their brother-in-law) before election day. All that said, Kim surprised fans by celebrating Biden’s win alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris with three blue hearts on Twitter.

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