There's much more than the T-shirt controversy
It hasn’t been the greatest week for Kendall and Kylie Jenner. The sisters came under fire after they released a line of controversial “vintage” tees that featured their own faces and logos superimposed over images of noted music legends, including Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac.
Unfortunately for the Keeping Up With the Kardashians stars, this isn’t the first time they’ve made a faux pas that’s sparked outrage and drawn the ire of Twitter — in fact, it’s not even the second or third time.
Here’s a timeline of the Jenner sisters’ most notable controversies so far.
November 2013: Kendall’s racy Instagram
Despite a modeling career that started in her early teen years and often saw her in bikinis, Kendall raised eyebrows when she posted a photo to her Instagram account wearing a sheer fishnet top that exposed her nipples just weeks after she turned 18. The black and white photo has since been deleted from the model’s account but can be found in color on the photographer Russell James’ account.
February 2014: Marc Jacobs Runway Show
It was mere months later when the elder Jenner sister once more got flak for going topless. She walked the catwalk for Marc Jacobs’ fall collection in February 2014 dressed in another see-through shirt. When critics laid in on Twitter, big sister Khloé Kardashian praised her younger sibling, writing on Instagram, “My baby sister killed it today walking in the Marc Jacobs fashion show!!! Kenny you are so dope to me!!! Congrats my baby!!! #NYFW#MarcJacobs#ProudSis.” She also tweeted, “She’s too dope for you 2 understand! Yall would trade places with her in a second! The hate is real! Lol bye haters! #ModelLife #Simple.”
August 2014: Texting during Michael Brown tribute
At the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Kendall, Kylie, and big sister Kim Kardashian came under fire for appearing to text and chat during a moment of silence to honor the life and recognize the death of Michael Brown. After rapper Common asked for the audience to pay its respects to the teenage victim of a police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, the ladies were photographed using their phones and talking to each other. Twitter didn’t hold back.
April 2015: Kylie accused of wearing blackface makeup
Kylie posted a photo to her Instagram account in which she appeared to be wearing blackface makeup. After a slew of online comments criticizing the teen’s appearance, Kylie posted a follow-up photo addressing the controversy in the caption by pointing out that the photo achieved its appearance through lighting and not makeup. “This is a black light and neon lights people lets all calm down,” she wrote.
April 2015: #KylieJennerChallenge
When Kylie appeared on the scene with much fuller lips at age 17, young teenage fans wanted a piece of the action. Girls began using shot glasses and suction to inflame their lips to emulate their Jenner idol, recording and sharing on social media the results — and often times, injuries. Despite Kylie condemning the dangerous practice, she was blamed for starting the craze. In May of that year, Kylie revealed that she used “temporary fillers” to achieve her plumped-up lips.
July 2015: Kylie wears cornrows
The accusations of cultural appropriation continued when Kylie shared a photo showing her wearing her hair in cornrows. In the comments, Everything, Everything actress Amandla Stenberg allegedly accused Kylie of appropriating black features and not recognizing the history associated with the hairstyle.
November 2016: Kylie’s relationship with Tyga
For her boyfriend Tyga’s 27th birthday, Kylie threw him a party (fair) and also shared some pics on Instagram in which she is topless and sitting astride him to celebrate. Some fans loved the display of affection, while others pointed to the nearly 10-year age gap between the two and found it inappropriate. (Kylie was 17 and the rapper was 24 when they began appearing in social media images together.) The couple is used to the haters, though. Since the relationship’s inception, there’s been outcry over its tangled beginnings: Tyga previously dated, was engaged to, and had a child with Blac Chyna, who, after their separation, then went on to date, get engaged to, and have a baby with Kylie’s half-brother Rob Kardashian. They are now separated.
October 2016: Kendall the ballerina
Landing the cover of Vogue Spain should’ve been a reason to celebrate, but unfortunately for Kendall, it was another moment that generated negative feedback. In the shoot, the model was dressed and made up as a ballerina. In anticipation of the cover release, Kendall posted an Instagram video in which she twirls and frolics in a tutu. Cue the backlash. Commenters in the dance community came out in force to criticize the magazine for picking a non-trained dancer for the shoot. Kendall didn’t take it lying down and responded on her blog: “It’s so funny that people are getting pregnant and married — or having crazy drama — but my drama is ballerinas being upset at me! With my Vogue Spain shoot, I didn’t even know I was going to be a ballerina until I went into hair and makeup. I never said I knew ballet and I didn’t practice beforehand. I just show up to do my job!”
April 2017: Kendall’s Pepsi campaign
In April, Kendall became the star of a Pepsi commercial and a massive scandal that came along with it. The ad featured the 21-year-old easing the tensions of a political protest by handing can of the soda to a police officer. The commercial was widely criticized for being tone deaf and trivializing movements like Black Lives Matter. Due to the backlash, the spot was pulled just one day after it was released.
April 2017: Fyre Festival promotion
April certainly wasn’t the best month for Kendall. She once again faced backlash after promoting the not-so-glamorous Fyre Festival and encouraging fans to splurge their cash for a weekend ticket. When festival-goers arrived on a private island in the Bahamas, they found they’d been duped. The luxury experience was far from what they expected, and Kendall and other models took some heat for their involvement.
May 2017: Kendall’s Vogue India cover
Another Vogue shoot, another reason to get mad. In the spring of this year, Kendall graced the cover of Vogue India. However, the May issue’s release found people upset that a non-Indian model was taking the coveted spot. The publication defended its actions on social media, writing, “In the last 10 years, Vogue India has had only 12 international covers, including Kendall Jenner, in 2017. Therefore, statistically, 90 percent of our covers are Indian! And we are proud of that.” The publication added: “India has given the world so many beautiful faces to admire. After all, we are Vogue, an international brand, and we want to give the love back by featuring some of the best international celebrities on our covers. Occasionally! :)”
June 2017: “Vintage” music T-shirts
When the sisters launched a new line of “Rap vs. Rock” fashion tees as part of their Kendall + Kylie collection, they were immediately reprimanded online for lack of sensitivity and tact. The shirts use images of their favorite musicians, such as Metallica, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, with their own faces superimposed over them. Two of the more talked-about T-shirts feature the faces of the late Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. Even Biggie’s mom got involved, calling the concept “disgusting” and “disrespectful” as his estate sent a cease-and-desist letter. The sisters later posted an apology: “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,” they wrote. “We are huge fans of their music and it was not our intention to disrespect these cultural icons in anyway. The tee shirts have been pulled from retail and all images have been removed. We will use this as an opportunity to learn from theses mistakes, and again we are very sorry.”