Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bruce Jenner and Rob Kardashian: stealing the spotlight

by Melissa Scott

As a family that makes money explicitly from media attention, the Kardashian/ Jenner group seems to resent the spotlight at last. At least, any spotlight focused on the male members of family. This week produced some awkward skirmishes with the Kardashians—beginning with an alleged interview with usual headline-maker Kendall Jenner, and ending with a disturbing post from estranged brother Rob Kardashian.

Eagerly, the Kardashians flaunt new bleach-blonde hairstyles and post half-naked (and underage) snapshots with twenty-five year old divorcees. But apparently they’re not to keen when it comes to transgender fathers, or mentally unbalanced brothers. Kendall Jenner vehemently denied any input with Us Weekly Magazine’s interview, staging “exclusive” comments from Jenner surrounding rumors of her father’s gender transition. The interview, which is now deleted from the magazine’s website (UsMagazine.com), was revealed to have taken place backstage with Jenner after Justin Bieber’s Comedy Central Roast. The article quoted Jenner, “I love my dad. He’s always been there for me and my sisters. He’s a wonderful man. And just because he’s changing shoes now, so to speak, doesn't make him less wonderful.” Jenner apparently concluded on the subject, “I will always love my dad, whether he’s a man or a woman.”
from Eonline.com

Following the release of the interview, Jenner lashed out on Twitter. “How is it legal for someone to ‘quote’ someone and publish it if in fact you never said what was quoted,” she posted. Just to confirm that it was the magazine’s article, she later added, “Shame on Us Weekly for making up those quotes. I NEVER said those things. I never spoke to them.” Surprisingly, especially for a magazine, Us Weekly issued a public apology, retracted the statement, and deleted the article after Jenner protested. The magazine attributed the mistake to “an independent freelance journalist,” who continued to stand by the interview, and insisted the quotes were accurate. However, Us Weekly officially voiced “concerns about the veracity of this interview and the circumstances under which it was obtained.” The magazine affirmed, “We would like to retract the story entirely and have removed it from our website. We sincerely apologize to Ms. Jenner and her family.”

While an official retraction is startling—most tabloids avoid admitting blunders or transgressions, let alone delete entire articles—I can see why Us was quick to keep in good graces with Jenner. Us Weekly maintains a mutually beneficial relationship with the Kardashians, as one of the family’s preferred tabloid outlets. The reality show dynasty provides editors with “exclusive” cuts of news, and in return gets prime placement in the magazine. Clearly, Us worried that angering Jenner might harm this relationship, and brought about some heavy damage control.

The subject--Bruce Jenner’s supposed transition into a woman--is one the Kardashians have chosen firmly to evade, and it looks like Jenner’s outbursts ensure it will remain obscure. Meanwhile, the other male “outsider” of the family, Rob Kardashian, rocked social media via Instagram barely a few days after the Jenner/Us Weekly flare-up.

Rob Kardashian works to avoid the reality show limelight; he hasn't been filmed in the TV series for quite some time. Following some depression and weight gain, Kardashian chose to distance himself from the Kardashian/Jenner family. He un-followed most of his family on Twitter and Instagram, left the TV show, and even refused to make an appearance at the grand Kardashian-West wedding last May—the only member of the family not to attend. When asked about Kardashian’s aloof behavior, Khloe Kardashian shrugged, “I just feel, especially over the last year, Rob has become very introverted and has a kind of social anxiety.” She continued, “He’s definitely not at his happiest place that he once was, and I know he can get to that happy place and he will.”

If I had to guess, I’d say Kardashian hasn't quite reached that happy place yet. He alarmingly posted a picture of Rosamund Pike’s sociopathic character, Amy Dunne on Instagram, and captioned the image, “My sister Kim, the bitch from Gone Girl.” Comparing Kim Kardashian to Pike’s character, a murderous and psychotic wife, probably isn't quite the kind of publicity she’s used to enjoying or enduring.

It’s a shame that Bruce Jenner and Rob Kardashian have to be sucked in to the poisonous publicity that surrounds the women of the family. Any stir or scandal caused by Kim, Kendall, Kylie, or Kourtney is intriguing and gregarious, but the men are regarded as unbalanced or fat. Even when Jenner or Kardashian makes an effort to distance themselves from the drama of the reality show, or avoid making headlines, they still spark horrible accusations and press. Whether or not Jenner is choosing to change his gender, or Kardashian is struggling with his weight or family relationship, they chose to shun the public eye for a reason. The Kardashian girls seem to love the camera, and clearly don’t want the spotlight on their dad or brother. So please, let’s just leave the guys in peace.
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