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Image / Agenda / Image Writes

Are the Kardashians’ Disneyland photoshop fails a new form of PR stunt?


By Sarah Gill
29th Apr 2022

Kim Kardashian / Instagram

Are the Kardashians’ Disneyland photoshop fails a new form of PR stunt?

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and the Kardashian clan are living proof.

A week without a Kardashian/Jenner scandal is a week wasted, so thankfully, the famous family always manage to give the masses something to talk about.

The latest controversy hitting the headlines comes in the form of an Instagram photo uploaded by Kim K on New Year’s Eve. The seemingly innocuous image of her daughter, Chicago West, and Khloe’s daughter, True Thompson, on a family trip to Disneyland caused quite the stir on closer inspection.

Eagle-eyed fans and followers were quick to call photoshop, and the speculations hung in the air for months. That was, of course, until Khloe posted that an April 12 trip to Disneyland was in fact her daughter’s first time visiting the magic kingdom.

“Welllppp,” Khloe tweeted, “I f*cked this one up. Anyways… let’s focus on something else. Our show airs in a few days.”

This, in turn, prompted a series of Instagram stories from Kim as she explained away swapping out Kylie’s daughter Stormi, replacing her with True. Why does this sound like some kind of dystopian satire?

In the safe space of her IG confessional, she wrote the incident off as a case of simple feed curation. In what reads like a parody of herself, she said: “OK OK soooo you know I am all about my aesthetic! And my IG is pink and blue lately. Isn’t it so cute and well planned out!”

Clarifying that it was Stormi in the original images, Ms Kardashian says that she had asked her sister if she could post the pictures, but in the wake of the Astroworld tragedy, Kim wanted to respect Kylie’s decision to remain silent on the gram.

“You know how much a good aesthetic means to my soul and I will be damned if Kylie will ruin that for me and mess up my IG grid. So thank you True for taking one for the team!”

Yeah, let’s file this under totally normal and definitely not bizarrely worrying behaviour.

Unsurprisingly, public outrage ensued, and the internet was quick to respond. Instagram comments and Tweets galore mention the sheer amount of therapy these little ones will need once they’re older, the implication that the post means the children are interchangeable, and the problematic aspects of skin being darkened to make the ruse more believable.

Regardless of the ethics surrounding photoshopping and fine-tuning children online, the post achieved its desired effect: to cause a commotion. The Kardashians are experts in spinning a scandal into self-promotion, and it’s no accident that the incident took place in the weeks surrounding the launch of their new reality show, The Kardashians.

It has also been speculated that Kim’s controversial business advice, given in an interview with Variety, was to drum up some media attention ahead of the show’s first episode, which just so happened to become Hulu’s most-watched premiere in the streaming platform’s history.

“I have the best advice for women in business: Get your f*cking ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.” Coming from a woman whose work ethic has been a bone of contention within public discourse for years, these comments were orchestrated to be outrageous.

The Kardashians’ business savvy is constantly being underestimated. Just last week, a photo of Kim posing in her SKIMS went viral because people were sure that she had photoshopped her bellybutton away. As you do.

Responding on her Instagram stories, she labelled the claim that she edited out her bellybutton as “dumb” and reframed the incident seamlessly. “Belly button insecurities?! Well why don’t you head on over to skims.com to conceal that saggy belly button of yours with a great pair of high-waisted underwear like I did!”

Regularly the centre of ‘photoshop fail’ compilations, it seems safe to assume that this is one family that don’t make sloppy mistakes. Carefully calculating every move, in 2022, everything’s a PR stunt until proven otherwise.