By Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer
The joke isn’t funny anymore.
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and Kim Kardashian are two of the most famous people in the world. Their relationship from the beginning was carried out in the public eye. The end has been no different, except it is an end marked by harassment and abuse. The whole world watched, and too many laughed.
Kardashian filed for divorce from Ye on Feb. 19, 2021, after almost seven years of marriage and four children together.
Ye responded to this with a flurry of harassment, mostly posted to Instagram. And people supported it. They supported his rants against Pete Davidson, Kardashian’s new partner.
He ranted about his children and how they were being raised by Kardashian. He went after the people who are friends with Davidson and the people who spoke out against what he was doing.
One post was a screenshot of a text sent by Kardashian, asking him why he couldn’t keep the situation private, telling him that it was something she didn’t want to work out in the public eye. She has made it clear that their relationship is over.
Obviously, Ye ignored all of this.
He sent her a truck of roses for Valentine’s Day and posted it on Instagram, only hours after posting a picture of her and Davidson on a date.
Ye threatened Davidson and encouraged his fans to do the same. He filmed a music video where he tortured and buried a claymation version of Davidson.
Anyone who spoke out against his actions was met with similar responses. Comedian and actor D.L. Hughley said that Ye was stalking Kardashian. Ye reacted in an Instagram post, writing, “I can afford to hurt you.” Trevor Noah similarly spoke on the issue, and Kanye called him a slur in a post.
If one of the most famous women in the world can’t safely say no and can’t refuse a man’s advances without being harassed and stalked, what hope do the rest of us have?
This isn’t just about that. This is about the people who openly supported and defended Ye. They liked his posts, put them on their Instagram stories and rooted for him. They defended him to anyone who pointed out how harmful his actions were. Some even argued that Kardashian deserved it.
Kardashian is not a perfect person. Personally, I’m not a fan of hers, and I think that a lot of the criticism she draws is deserved.
But every woman and every person deserves the ability to safely remove themselves from a relationship they no longer want to be in. That includes Kardashian.
We have given Ye passes his entire career. We excused him when he interrupted a 19-year-old Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech at the VMAs. We let it go when he tweeted “BILL COSBY INNOCENT” after 60 women accused him of sexual assault and more. We ignored the things he’s said about Amber Rose, like when he told Wiz Khalifa, “You let a stripper trap you,” and tweeted that he had to take “30 showers” after being with her. His “Famous” music video featured nude copies of the likes of Swift, Amber Rose, Rihanna and Chris Brown.
The music video placed Rihanna naked in bed with her abuser, and we let it all go. We laughed. We applauded. We defended his every action and bowed down at the feet of the “genius” Ye.
Hughley said in his interview about Ye: “You can’t write a beat so good that you get to do these things.”
His struggle with mental illness has been brought up to explain away his behavior. But at some point, it goes beyond that. Millions of people manage their mental illnesses and, in the process, refrain from abusing women. Ye has been doing this his entire career.
How far are we willing to let famous men go just for the sake of their art? How often are we going to laugh at reports of women harassed and stalked by men they turned down, or find it romantic?
We deserve the right to say no, in any situation and to any person. We deserve the right to be left alone. And we deserve the right to not be laughed at, mocked or blamed for our mistreatment, abuse and pain.
Stop supporting Ye’s actions. Listen to his music, sure, but stop defending him for the harmful things he does and the pain he causes. His actions are rooted in misogyny and abuse, and defending what he’s done means that you condone these things. Does it make you any different from him?
The joke isn’t funny anymore. Honestly, it never was.