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Kardashian's Handgun Tweet Is Her Problem

Ashley Yang |
February 13, 2013 | 3:49 p.m. PST


A diamond-encrusted gun, Kim? And I thought things couldn’t get any tackier after your 90-day marriage to Kris Humphries.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, many celebrities, including Kardashian, pledged their support for gun control on social media sites like Twitter. But just weeks after tweeting her pledge to reduce gun violence, Kardashian posted a picture of a designer, diamond-encrusted handgun to her Instagram. Not surprisingly, her actions were confronted by a wave of public outrage and disgust.

What Kim Kardashian posts on the internet ultimately reflects upon her. (david_shankbone, Creative Commons)
What Kim Kardashian posts on the internet ultimately reflects upon her. (david_shankbone, Creative Commons)

What’s worse, ultra-conservative TV personality Glenn Beck responded to Kardashian’s post with a tweet of his own, which included a photo of his favorite gun and the hashtag #SweetKimGunPic. The hashtag went viral among Beck’s followers and supporters of the Second Amendment, inspiring them to post and tag their own favorite pictures of guns.

Kardashian’s actions were obviously insensitive and ill-informed, and her fans (and critics) have responded accordingly. But Kim Kardashian technically doesn’t owe us anything. Even though her tweet precipitated a slew of inappropriately timed pro-gun responses, what she posts on the Internet is ultimately a reflection upon her.

Ideally, all public figures should be extra careful about what they say on the Internet, but they certainly aren’t required to. Kardashian does not profess herself to be representative of the “morally correct” responder to the Sandy Hook shooting, nor a role model on the issue of gun control or on any other issue. Regardless of her fame, she is a private citizen and her statements are not indicative of anyone’s position but her own. She isn’t morally or legally obligated to only make statements that are sensitive to a particular situation or that are politically correct.

The post was sensationalized because millions of people pay attention to Kardashian’s Twitter, versus posts by any regular person. If she had not been a public figure, the photo would have been similarly censured by her significantly smaller pool of followers. Glenn Beck certainly wouldn’t have jumped into the conversation, and neither would all the other opinionated Tweeters.

The pace at which our technology enables us to communicate and connect with the rest of the world puts undue pressure on our celebrities to respond to public events in ways that we find fit. But just as we, as common people, are entitled to express our opinions through social media (may they be the “appropriate” response or not), so are our public figures. After all, they wouldn’t be quite so interesting if they didn’t do outrageous things every once in a while.


Reach Contributor Ashley Yang here.



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