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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

We need to talk about Kanye West’s ‘abusive’ behaviour towards Kim

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Johannesburg – WTF, Kanye?! That has been my reaction every time I have come across a Kanye West social media post these past few weeks. Muted on Twitter and unfollowed on Instagram, yet his posts – in ALL CAPS glory and screaming at us – have followed me around on every social media platform. And here I thought one could train these platforms to not show you things you are not interested in.

And yet I still could see everything. And every time I spotted a post or read a tweet about what he posted, I recoiled in disgust and alarm at how people weren’t outraged. Because what he was doing was tantamount to harassment.

Separation and divorce are hard. I can imagine that this is even more difficult as a public figure with a net worth of more than a billion dollars (R15.1bn), thriving careers and four children. However, there have been divorces that have been handled with the utmost respect between parties. This is why there is no excuse for what Kanye West is doing to his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian West.

His behaviour at seeing Kardashian with her rumoured new boyfriend, SNL comedian, Pete Davidson, has seen the rapper spiral like never before.

This led to the 44-year-old rapper using Instagram and Twitter to lash out at both Kardashian and Davidson, accusing Kardashian of keeping him away from his children, allowing North, their firstborn child, to use TikTok without his permission, and urging his fans to attack Davidson, whom he now calls “Skete”.

During his recent dalliance, a showmance, really, with actress Julia Fox, he mirrored everything he did with Kardashian, putting Fox in designer brands Kardashian wears and taking over her wardrobe and styling, like he did when he first got together with Kardashian in 2011.

And society just laughed at this. We laughed at the “Kardashians getting justice” and how “Kim deserves this treatment” from West. And yet it’s a sure sign of him being abusive to Kardashian.

A recent post by Facebook user Jacalyn Wetzel summed it up perfectly when she outlined the tell-tale signs of gender-based violence.

In a detailed post, she wrote how West’s behaviour, going from buying a home opposite Kardashian’s home, insulting her and sharing their private messages on social media, only to then send a truck full of roses and “love bombing” her, was abusive.

“What Kanye is displaying now is disturbing and concerning,” she wrote.

“While I won’t speculate on any sort of mental health condition nor will I blame his behaviours on one, as mental health is not an excuse for abuse. Abuse does not always involve hitting or threatening to hit someone. Abuse comes in many forms, and the world is witnessing abusive behaviour in real-time,” she continued.

“Bombarding someone with grand gestures when they’ve asked you to leave them alone is a form of harassment. This is not some love story where a guy goes to his ex-girlfriend’s house holding a boom box on top of his head in an effort to show how much he loves her. This is a display of mental and emotional abuse in an effort to force someone back into a relationship. This is not okay! This is not normal. This is not entertainment.”

And therein lies the problem – West has been doing these grand gestures for a long time, and then still going back to insulting the people in his life whenever he is not happy with them.

His fans have been saying he is dealing with the trauma of losing his mother and the women who are in a relationship with him, just need to deal with it… Another instance of intimate partner abuse being normalised.

When West’s mother, Donda died in 2007, it left him undoubtedly wounded as shown in the new Netflix documentary, “Jeen-Yuhs”. He was slowly rising to the top as one of hip hop’s leaders of the new generation, going toe-to-toe with Jay-Z and producing for every notable musician. However, the loss of his mother brought a seismic shift in how he started doing things – from his music, fame and fashion.

Many were outraged at his outburst at the 2009 MTV VMAs, where he stormed the stage to tell everybody that Taylor Swift did not deserve to win the Best Female Video award, but it was rather Beyoncé. His girlfriend at the time, Amber Rose, was just as scandalised. They called time on their relationship in 2010.

Interestingly, Rose spoke out about her life after their break-up, where she said during an interview on the “No Jumper” podcast: “He has picked on me for 10 years. He has bullied me for 10 years,” she said. And indeed he has. One of the most jarring things he said about her was how he had to take 30 showers after their breakup.

It was behaviour that many turned a blind eye to. He slut-shamed her when he was in a happy marriage with Kardashian, and even when his estranged wife’s sisters were attacking Rose on social media, he egged it on.

Cracks started showing in the Kardashian-West relationship when he moved to Wyoming, started plotting a career in politics, where he said some pretty arb things like, and we quote: “When you hear about slavery for 400 years… For 400 years? That sounds like a choice,” he told TMZ. “You were there for 400 years, and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.”

And then came the lashing out at the Kardashian family on social media. In 2020, West went on a tweeting spree saying some pretty disturbing things, including: “Everybody knows the movie get out is about me,” and “Kim tried to bring a doctor to lock me up with a doctor. If I get locked up like Mandela ya’ll will know why.”

This prompted Kardashian to tweet that West had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and they were doing all they can to make sure he was okay.

“Those who understand mental illness or even compulsive behaviour know that the family is powerless, unless the member is a minor. People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgemental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help, no matter how hard family and friends try.

“He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his ‘bipolar disorder’,” she wrote.

She closed the statement by asking the public and the media to exercise “the compassion and empathy that is needed”.

When West started lashing out on social media after the separation was announced, many thought he was having episodes.

However, it has made many of us question how he moves, how much of a controlling person he is and how he wants things done his way or he will lash out. It’s time we are honest about Kanye West. What he is doing is not entertainment. It’s dangerous and unhinged, and if not stopped could end in tragedy for all involved.


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