Yesterday afternoon the news broke that Kim Kardashian had reportedly been robbed at gunpoint. A group of masked men dressed as policeman broke into her temporary residence in Paris, bound and gagged her in the bathroom and absconded with US$10 million of jewellery, including the reality TV star’s 15-carat diamond engagement ring.
The incident was as aggressive as it was swift. In less than six minutes the masked men made off with the jewellery and bound Kardashian with duct tape, leaving her in the bathtub. According to reports, Kardashian feared that she was going to be raped. Her spokesperson stated that the star was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, returning to her home in New York immediately, where her husband Kanye West was waiting for her.
How has The Internet reacted? With scorn and derision, mocking the reality TV star on social media, claiming that the incident was all a stunt for her show or an elaborate prank, or worse, positing that it’s impossible to feel sorry or even care about someone when they have millions of dollars worth of jewellery in the first place.
And yes, as the Washington Post’s fashion correspondent – on the ground in Paris for fashion week – noted, the story itself has been reported with a mania bordering on hysteria. “No less than the mayor of Paris tweeted her condemnation of the robbery and promised Kardashian that she will always be welcome in Paris Countless anonymous tourists who’ve been victims of crimes here would love a similar reassurance,” Givhan wrote.
And to be fair, not all four corners of the world wide web are responding with as much aggression. But the fact that this reaction is even happening at all should give us reason for pause.
Why is The Internet mocking Kim Kardashian for being the victim of a violent crime?
We should feel sorry for her: sorry that she’s been robbed at gunpoint, sorry that she was bound and gagged and left in a bathtub by her attackers, sorry that she feared that she would be raped, sorry that she quite probably feared for her life.
And we should feel all these things not because, as James Corden bizarrely put it, Kardashian is “a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend.” Yes, she is those things, but the parts are not the reason why we should feel sorry for the whole. The reason we should feel sorry for her – and respect her and her family’s privacy in this time – is because she’s a human being, and we don’t wish robber at gunpoint, threats of violence and fears for your safety upon anyone.
Say what you want about Kim Kardashian, say what you want about the clothes that she wears, the proclivity with which she documents her life on social media, the fact that arguably her greatest claim to fame is a leaked sex tape… she is still the victim of a violent, aggressive, harassing crime this week. And she deserves our empathy.