Bad Publicity Only Works for the Kardashians

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Photo: Mark Sagliocco (Getty Images)

In case you haven’t heard, no one showed up to Kanye West’s Yeezy X 2XU event in Sydney. First of all, I didn’t even know this was happening or a thing; nor do I know who or what a 2XU is.


If I know anything about Kanye, I figure that this is a fashion collaboration where he’s charging folks the price of rent to wear the types of minimalist fashion one could find in The Walking Dead’s outlet mall.

It’s been reported that 2XU’s staff waited at the store for nearly an hour and no one came, not even Estelle (who would literally come to the opening of an envelope)! Evidently they don’t play those kinda games in Sydney because 2XU shut that ish down after an hour of tumbleweeds. Is Sydney collectively woke? The brand put out a statement, saying, “There’s been a change of direction from head office and unfortunately the event has been cancelled.”

The first thing I thought was, “Damn, no one is messing with ’Ye anymore.” I was one of the people who confidently assumed that Kanye’s recent Foot-in-Mouth World Tour—where he publicly spewed poisonous beliefs that slavery was a trend or choice, Donald Trump is a good guy and “Make America great again” is for everyone (among other “free thinking” gems)—was just a publicity stunt because 1) Kris Jenner is his mother-in-law (and she puts her brood on a strict publicity-stunt regimen) and 2) staying relevant is hard (unless you’re Beyoncé).

But alas, those age-old clichés “Any press is good press” and “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” just ain’t real no more. There is such a thing as bad publicity, and you can behave badly enough to get dropped from lucrative endorsement deals or even lose the public’s support. It’s about time. I’m looking at you, R. Kelly.

The average consumer has likely had it up to here with shock being a tactic to gain attention. It’s tough to affect major brands, but once H&M put a little black boy in a hoodie and knighted him the “coolest monkey in the jungle,” protests sprouted, and before you knew it, the major fashion chain had to drop its prices significantly and eventually had to reveal its plan to close 170 stores. Starbucks coffee shops are closing nationwide on May 29 for racial-bias training following a racist incident that left two black men in handcuffs and people looking at Starbucks through side-eyes. It’s said that the coffee giant stands to lose at least $6 million that day. Oh well.


Bad publicity just doesn’t work anymore, especially orchestrated bad publicity, unless, of course, you’re the Kardashians. That’s what happens when you make a deal with the devil, but I digress.

Azealia Banks, H&M, Kanye, Snapchat and any other person, place or thing that uses the tactic of being loud and wrong in order to gain attention for the purpose of creating buzz are starting to see that it’s not a good tactic. Maybe this thing in Sydney is just a coincidence; maybe everyone was given the wrong date and time?


The Kardashians have amassed an empire ranging from entertainment to fashion, beauty and Lord knows what else. I don’t want to Google their business dealings, but I did Google this: Collectively, the Kardashians are reportedly worth upward of half a billion dollars. And to think it all started with a sex tape. If bad publicity worked for anyone but the Kardashians, Ray J should and would have been in a similar financial situation. Why aren’t we “Keeping Up With the J’s”? Or the Norwoods? Just saying.

Nowadays, when celebrities behave badly, there’s instant commentary, but there’s also the instant moral police who urge us to stop giving whoever the culprit is any attention. Our outrage, comedic one-liners, tweets, think pieces and the like only give the noun in question the attention they so crave. We’re merely fanning the flames.


Case in point: Kanye kept our attention for a solid two weeks with his steaming pile of hot-garbage rhetoric. And now the folks in Sydney are ignoring whatever bland neoprene he’s pushing. I wonder, if this event were in the U.S., would we be over it, too. I mean, y’all listened to this “Poopity Scoop” record, “Lift Yourself,” enough to where it’s tiptoeing up the Billboard 100 chart. But if bad publicity worked for Kanye the way it does for his wife, we wouldn’t be left with “Poopity Scoop” music from ’Ye and empty stores in Sydney.

To many, Azealia Banks is a talented rapper who just can’t catch a break. To others, she’s a bad girl who uses social media to recklessly call out other women in hip-hop. She’s a storm of bad publicity, and frankly, no one likes a bully. She tends to blame everyone around her when things go badly. Remember how, after her single “ATM Jam” with Pharrell Williams didn’t slap, she blamed the genius producer? And as problematic as she is, at the core of Banks’ rants and ravings is a black girl trying not to let the music industry make us extinct. But that gets lost in her firestorm of Twitter tirades and skin lightening.


Bad publicity affects how people receive what you’re putting out there, and casts a shadow over you no matter what you do. Edgy content has a market, and sex will forever sell. But when you do or say bad things to peddle a product, you just end up looking like a child seeking his mother’s attention. And nothing is more satisfying than ignoring a whiny child. (I’m no one’s parent yet; don’t judge me.)

Pretty. Witty. Girly. Worldly. One who likes to party, but comes home early. I got stories to tell. Prince (yes, that Prince) called me excellence. Achievement unlocked.


Christian Fappenberg

Is Sydney collectively woke?

“No” - The Aborigines.