It's been a busy year for the Kardashian-Jenners: Kim launched her cosmetics line, KKW Beauty, Caitlyn released a memoir that tore the family apart, and three of the sisters learned they were having babies (even if two of them refuse to confirm). But it wouldn't be a year on Earth for Kris Jenner and Co. without some (or, more accurately, a lot of) controversy surrounding the family. In chronological order, here are the scandals, missteps, and highly questionable business decisions that got them called out by the internet in 2017.
1. Caitlyn attends Donald Trump’s Inauguration.
Although she’s been a vocal Republican for years, many people were disturbed, disappointed, and horrified that Caitlyn would continue to show support for Donald Trump, whose election posed a glaring threat to LGBTQ and women’s rights, by attending his Inauguration. When Caitlyn’s plan to attend was confirmed, she tweeted:
According to People, she attended the inauguration as a guest of the American Unity Fund, an organization described as "conservative" and "dedicated to advancing the cause of freedom and equal opportunity for LGBTQ Americans."
In July, President Trump tweeted his intent to discharge transgender service members from the military, effective March 2018, blaming "tremendous medical costs and disruption" to American forces. (On October 30, a federal judge temporarily overturned the ban, ruling that it was based on "disapproval of transgender people generally.")
In response to the initial policy announcement, Caitlyn tweeted:
Shortly after, Caitlyn stepped out in a MAGA hat. She told TMZ that she wore it by accident—she needed a hat to keep her hair in place on her way to play golf, so she "rummaged through the 10 hats in her closet" and chose one "without looking at the stitching."
2. Kendall stars in tone-deaf Pepsi ad.
It's still hard to believe that multiple people signed off on a commercial starring Kendall as a model who, emboldened by the sight of a political protest, removed her wig, wiped off her makeup, and joined the movement. The ad was immediately criticized for positioning Kendall as a white savior and trivializing political protests, particularly the Black Lives Matter movement. In one shot, her character handed a police officer a can of Pepsi; the set-up appeared to be a reference to the famous photo of Ieshia Evans actually protesting, in Baton Rouge.
Pepsi initially defended the ad, saying it "reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey." But less than 24 hours later, the spot was pulled. "Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding," the company said in a statement. "Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position."
Kendall and Kris Jenner deleted Instagram and Twitter posts promoting the ad, but did not immediately comment. Kendall spoke at length about the controversy on an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that aired October 2.
When I first got this offer, I mean, it’s a huge company…to get something like that, it was so exciting. And I trusted everyone, I trusted the teams. But after I saw the reaction and I read what people had to say about it, I most definitely saw what went wrong. I was so stuck and I really didn’t know what to do that I completely shut down.
Later in the episode, she cried, saying:
I would never purposely hurt someone, ever…if I knew that this was gonna be the outcome, I would have never done something like this. But you don’t know when you’re in the moment…I just felt so fucking stupid. The fact that I would offend other people or hurt other people was definitely not the intent. And that’s what got me the most, is that I would have ever made anyone else upset.
3. Independent clothing designer accuses Khloé of copying her work.
Destiney Bleu, the designer behind dbleudazzled, accused Khloé Kardashian's Good American of ripping off her crystal-encrusted body suits. "When someone buys 1 of everything on your site, has you make them custom @dbleudazzled work, never posts it or wears it, then copies it," she tweeted.
She also shared the images below. (The top two photos are of bodysuits by Good American; the bottom two are of bodysuits by dbleudazzled.)
Good American released an official statement, saying, “Under no circumstances did Good American or Khloé Kardashian infringe on another brand’s intellectual property and we are going through the proper legal channels to handle the situation.” The company also posted three photos to its Instagram page, suggesting that crystal-encrusted bodysuits were not a new idea. They captioned the photo of Cher, “Important to know your fashion history #nofrauds.”
According to People, Good American sent Destiney a cease and desist letter, to which Destiney’s lawyer reportedly responded with detailed records of Destiney’s interactions with Khloé’s then-stylist Monica Rose, including screenshots of email exchanges. According to the documents obtained by People, Monica Rose asked to borrow black and nude body suits on December 9, 2016, and later asked to purchase them.
Khloé’s lawyer, Marty Singer, shot back, claiming the body suits purchased by Monica Rose on Khloé’s behalf weren’t the bodysuits Destiney shared in her tweet.
“Although the stylist Monica Rose requested catsuits from your client for Ms. Kardashian in December 2016, the catsuits that were provided to Ms. Rose for Ms. Kardashian are completely different from the catsuit depicted in your client’s June 2, 2017 Tweet which she falsely claims was copied by Good American,” he wrote. “The catsuits bear no resemblance whatsoever to the Good American bodysuits. The catsuits are full-bodied, long-sleeved and lined with crystals distributed evenly over the garments.” TMZ obtained the full letter, which you can read here.
4. Independent clothing designer accuses Kylie of stealing camo looks.
According to the company’s creative director, Tizita Balemlay, Kylie's team requested a package of her designs, including swimwear, which Balemlay sent over. Balemlay posted an alleged email exchange between her team and Kylie's:
In a post that has since been removed from Instagram, Balemlay wrote:
Them: Did you invent Camo? Me: Nope, but I sure as hell brought it back to life and pushed the two piece Camo movement. I can't remember one brand that sold matching Camo two pieces that weren't generic tees with cargo for ladies before my brand, unless it was custom. But hey... money is power smh I started my brand with pennies funny how someone can just take a whole movement bc of how much money and power they have.
Kylie did not publicly comment about the incident.
5. Twitter accuses Kim of darkening her skin tone for a KKW Beauty promo.
On June 14, Kim posted the following photo:
Many people on social media commented on her skin color, claiming it looked darker than usual; some specifically accused her of blackface. Others defended Kim's look, attributing it to tanning, contouring, or possibly lighting. The following day, she posted a photo where her skin was noticeably lighter.
Speaking to the New York Times on June 19, Kim responded to the backlash, saying:
I would obviously never want to offend anyone. I used an amazing photographer and a team of people. I was really tan when we shot the images, and it might be that the contrast was off. But I showed the image to many people, to many in the business. No one brought that to our attention. No one mentioned it.
Of course, I have the utmost respect for why people might feel the way they did. But we made the necessary changes to that photo and the rest of the photos. We saw the problem, and we adapted and changed right away. Definitely I have learned from it.
6. Rob posts revenge porn
Rob shared graphic images of Blac Chyna on both his Instagram and Twitter accounts (his Instagram account was eventually shut down), and within days, Blac Chyna sought the counsel of civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who announced she'd seek a restraining order on her client's behalf.
Ahead of her court appearance, Chyna spoke to Good Morning America. "I was devastated, of course. I’m like, how could somebody post these pictures of me," she said on the show. "And I’m like, wow. Okay. This is a person I trusted. I just felt betrayed." As Bloom notes in the appearance, sharing graphic images without the consent of the person online is a crime and civil wrong in California. "It’s also domestic abuse, which allows us to go in immediately and get domestic violence restraining orders to protect Chyna."
In September, Rob and Chyna reached an agreement regarding the custody of their daughter, Dream, and Bloom told People that a separate domestic abuse hearing scheduled for September 18, was taken off the calendar.
"Chyna is pleased that Rob has agreed to peacefully coparent Dream with her, as she has been requesting all along," Bloom said. "Because Rob agreed to continue to stay away from Chyna and not contact her, Chyna has agreed to take the domestic abuse hearing scheduled for Monday, September 18, off calendar. She will always have the right to go back into court if further incidents of domestic abuse occur."
The family hasn't publicly comment on Rob and Chyna's legal battles—nor have they condemned Rob's decision to post revenge porn on social media. On July 12, People reports, Kim released a copy of Chyna's non-disclosure agreement to ABC when they reached out for comment. On July 14, Kylie — who dated Chyna's ex, Tyga — unveiled a collaboration with Rob's Arthur George sock line.
In October, People reported that Blac Chyna filed a lawsuit against the Kardashians, naming Rob, Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kylie, and Kendall in the suit, and alleging that Rob's revenge porn, compounded by the family's sway, damaged her career and was the reason her E! show with Rob was canceled.
"Rob Kardashian and his powerful, vindictive family have done enough damage to Ms. White’s career and professional reputation, which she singlehandedly built from scratch—without the help of a famous last name. This lawsuit seeks to hold them accountable," the lawsuit stated.
7. Kendall and Kylie release “vintage” Biggie and Tupac tees.
Kendall + Kylie released limited edition "vintage" t-shirts with their faces imposed over images of Tupac, Biggie, Metallica, Pink Floyd, and other iconic artists. The tees were met with backlash for their price ($125 each), their faux vintage styling, and above all, their very concept, which many found disrespectful. Their use of Biggie and Tupac imagery was a particular point of contention, given the Kardashian-Jenner’s history with cultural appropriation and the artists’ own legendary status.
Biggie’s mom, Voletta Wallace, weighed in, writing on Instagram, "I have no idea why they feel they can exploit the deaths of 2pac and my Son Christopher to sell a t-shirt. This is disrespectful, disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!"
These designs were not well thought out and we deeply apologize to anyone that has been upset and/or offended, especially to the families of the artists. We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in anyway [sic]. The tee shirts have been pulled from retail and all images have been removed. We will use this as an opportunity to learn from these mistakes and again, we are very sorry.
8. Kim defends Jeffree Star.
Kim's fans went after Jeffree Star for making fun of her swatching skills; in response, she posted a video defending him, specifically against fans who called him racist. (Several clips surfaced online of Star, at 19, making racist comments; he apologized on YouTube.)
"I see you being so petty, bringing up things in his past where he, you know, was negative, but he's also apologized for those things," she said. "And I get it's a serious deal if you say racial things, but I do believe in people changing, and people that apologize, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I know better than anyone that I hate when people bring up my past or mistakes I've made in the past. So let him live."
She posted a second video, adding, "I want to make one last thing clear: I do not defend people that are racist and I am very against it, but if someone claims that they have changed, I would love to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I pray to God that they do change for the sake of my children and my friends."
Here's just a taste of the response that followed:
Kim responded to the backlash the following day, saying, "I really wanted to apologize to you guys and my fans for defending a situation yesterday that I really didn’t know enough about. I just feel a bit naïve and I do want to really apologize for me feeling like I had the right to say, ‘Get over it,’ in a situation that involves racism. I don’t really feel like I have the right to speak on that. … I really am sorry and I just want to move forward and be positive."
9. Kim’s poses as Jackie O on the cover of Interview.
As Kardashian covers go, this one wasn't that controversial. Some people took issue with the coverline, "America's New First Lady," others questioned whether Kim's skin was a darker complexion than usual, perhaps to match her daughter North's skin tone. But the backlash didn't build much steam and neither Kim nor the publication issued an apology.
10. Kim wears an Aaliyah costume.
Kim dressed as Aaliyah in the "Try Again" video for Halloween, stirring a debate on Twitter about whether it was inappropriate or disrespectful for Kim to dress as a black artist.
Kim responded on her website:
Aaliyah was such an amazing singer and she will forever be a music legend. I saw online that some people thought my costume was in poor taste and I am truly sorry if that offended anyone. When I was creating the costume, I wasn't dressing up as a race or culture but rather as a woman whom I will always admire.
I play every kind of genre of music in my home and I like for my kids to be exposed to many different artists. For me, it's always about love and respect. I loved that Kourtney was Michael Jackson for one of her costumes, and that my son was Axl Rose. We don't see color in my home. We were paying homage to people and artists we love and respect—it's that simple!
This post will be updated if more controversies arise.