Kayne-Kim’s breakup is not a ‘hot topic’ but a tragedy in the making

Leonard Pitts Jr.

It’s not funny. I don’t know who needs to hear that. I just know I have to say it.

Not only isn’t it funny, but it’s also not a “celebrity feud”, a “hot topic” or anything else you care to characterize meaningless ephemera from the world of rich and famous. No, what it is, folks, it’s a crime in progress.

I’m talking about Kanye West, something I usually try to avoid. It won’t surprise you that I’m not a fan of the rapper (yes, we asked him to call him Ye from now on, and no, that won’t happen here). His high-profile mental health issues aside, West has long struck me as a not particularly bright man with excess self-esteem and a lack of basic home training. President Obama called him a “moron”. The president was nice.

But in recent weeks, West has hit new lows, even for himself.

The reference is to his erratic behavior when his marriage to Kim Kardashian fell apart in the public arena. West went from begging for reconciliation on social media to parading a lookalike of his ex-wife. More disturbingly, he dragged Kardashian online while relentlessly threatening her new boyfriend, “Saturday Night Live” cast member Pete Davidson.

In one song, he vows to put “Davidson’s safety at risk”. In another, he raps about “a hundred morons coming to SNL.” There’s the lyrics where he says, “God saved me from this accident, just so I could beat Pete Davidson’s ass.” He asked fans to sing “KimYe forever!” when they see Davidson, whom he nicknamed “Skete”, in public.

It got bad enough that Kardashian texted West asking him to fire, telling him he was creating a dangerous situation. He responded to the private appeal via Instagram: “AT MY WIFE’S REQUEST, PLEASE NO ONE DO ANYTHING PHYSICAL AT SKETE, I WILL HANDLE THE SITUATION MYSELF. And he continues to misbehave. Last week, the same day the divorce became final, he posted a video in which his animated doppelganger kidnaps Davidson and buries him alive.

Maybe you’re tempted to dismiss it as the usual celebrity nonsense. But these people are being stalked and threatened by an obsessive ex in real time, in real life, right before our eyes. In other words, it’s not absurd; it’s a crime. Kanye West, for all his accolades and acclaim, turns out to be just another weak-minded, possessive man who can’t take no for an answer. And Kim Kardashian finds that all of her wealth and fame aren’t enough to insulate her from what less famous women endure.

If this happened to your neighbor, you would have had her call the cops a long time ago. But there is little pressing concern for Kardashian. Celebrity has this way of objectifying people, making them seem not quite real – especially a woman whose fame stems from using her life as a kind of performance art. When your life is a show, it becomes harder for people to take it seriously.

I’m thinking of a guy on Twitter who called West’s video “disturbing” and then added a laugh-til-you-cry emoji. It made me wonder: would he have found the situation funny if he had known it was real?

I’m a child of domestic violence, so believe me when I say: it doesn’t matter if the woman’s name is Kardashian or Jones, it’s all real. And Kim Kardashian deserves what every woman in this situation deserves: empathy and respect. It’s all a drama.

So let’s not confuse it with a show.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He can be contacted by email at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

Jessica C. Bell