Like many other celebrities this past Election Day, Kim Kardashian posted a photo of herself urging people to vote. The only difference was that Kardashian refused to publicly endorse a candidate. While many celebrities in Hollywood proudly posted their support for Democratic candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Kardashian remained silent as to who her vote went to. She did, however, encourage her millions of followers to vote and remain in line at the polls. For this reason, many followers latched onto one tiny detail about her post, her red top.
It isn’t news that Kardashian refuses to endorse a candidate for the 2020 election. In fact, she told W Magazine that she wouldn’t endorse one back in April. However, many individuals took her red top as a subtle hint that she had voted for the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. This, of course, caused a stir of responses and backlash, prompting Kardashian to delete and re-upload the photo in black and white. Despite this, social media users continued to hound Kardashian about her original post, once again highlighting her red top. But as some have pointed out, Kardashian’s previous likes and retweets suggest that she supports Biden. Though, it is worth noting that Kardashian has since unliked and deleted those retweets.
Perhaps Kardashian is so reluctant to voice her stance because of her work on prison reform, should she need to work with either candidate in the future. Kardashian, an advocate for criminal justice reform, has previously met and worked with President Trump numerous times to help free inmates from life sentences, succeeding in freeing 17 nonviolent drug offenders back in 2019. Kardashian’s choice to remain publicly non-partisan may also have to do with her husband, Kanye West, and his public presidential campaign. While Kardashian has publicly supported West’s previous endeavors, such as his Yeezy clothing line and gospel group Sunday Service, her silence on his campaign speaks volumes about her stance.
For what it’s worth, Kardashian previously endorsed Hilary Clinton in the 2016 election after being “on the fence” because she thought about the things she cared about “that outweighed everything else, such as gun control and protecting women’s rights to a safe and legal abortion.”
Clinging onto minute, trivial details such as Kardashian’s red shirt and making unfounded claims lead people to produce assumptions without significant evidence. Instead, people should look into Kardashian’s past statements and actions. Are these individuals suggesting that anyone who wears red is a Republican while those who wear blue are Democrats?
This is just one example of individuals drawing conclusions from frivolous details and creating new meanings for them. Although interpretations about Kardashian’s red top may seem inconsequential, many use this way of thinking to form ill-founded conspiracy theories that may in turn become dangerous. By taking little elements of a situation and giving them a new context, rumors and false narratives are formed based on these ideas fabricated from some situation or event that did happen. For example, “Pizzagate” is a debunked conspiracy theory alleging that the pizzeria Comet Ping Pong, was the headquarters to a child trafficking ring led by Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta. These false claims were based on nothing but an email exchange between Podesta and the owner of the pizzeria, which discussed the idea of a fundraiser for Clinton. Despite its invalidation, “Pizzagate” was succeeded by an even larger far-right conspiracy, QAnon, which claims that President Trump is leading a war against “satan worshipping pedophiles” in the media and government. It sounds extremely implausible, however, the conspiracy has gained millions of followers and has led to multiple dangerous crimes and acts of violence.
Kardashian has refrained from endorsing a candidate, but making baseless assumptions about her political views simply because we want answers is not the way to go. She has her reasons for keeping silent on her political position and that should be respected. One thing is certain, however, focusing on something as simple as a red top and taking it to be a hint at who she voted for is unsubstantiated. We should be looking at people’s values, not at their clothing.
Jacqueline Nguyen is an Opinion Intern for the 2020 Fall Quarter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.