The cannons are roaring at Fort Sumter, the Archduke lies dead in the street, troops are massing at the border, and the celebs are most definitely at it again. In a carefully coordinated multiplatform rollout, Kim Kardashian West launched a surprise attack on Taylor Swift, igniting an all-celeb Battle Royale with repercussions that will no doubt echo through the generations. At issue was a lyric in Kardashian West’s husband Kanye West’s song “Famous,” which sparked the latest phase of the feud between Swift and Kardashian West back in February. Kanye claimed Swift had signed off on being mentioned in the song, tweeting that the two had had a phone conversation about it:
Swift disputed Kanye’s claim that she approved the lyric with a statement from her publicist:
Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single “Famous” on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, “I made that bitch famous.”
At the Grammys, Swift may have obliquely referenced Kanye in her album of the year acceptance speech, which cautioned against “people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments, or your fame,” further paving the road to ruin.
Kim Kardashian West laid out a detailed account of her version of events in a GQ cover story, claiming that not only had Taylor Swift approved Kanye’s lyrics, she had video proof. According to Kardashian West, Swift was publicly calling for the release of that tape while privately having her attorneys tell Kanye to destroy the footage. Swift’s publicists, meanwhile, strongly implied that Kanye had been lying to Kim about what occurred on that call: “Taylor does not hold anything against Kim Kardashian as she recognizes the pressure Kim must be under and that she is only repeating what she has been told by Kanye West.”
Sunday night, Kim Kardashian West released excerpts from the video of the call on Snapchat, after teasing it on both Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Twitter:
And strongly implying Taylor Swift was a snake:
Swift has never denied that Kanye called her, but the tone of the excerpts Kim chose to release doesn’t match her initial characterization of the call. Her representatives claimed Kanye didn’t call to ask her approval and she never gave it, but in the video, Swift thanks Kanye for asking her permission, saying, “I really appreciate it, like the heads up is so nice. Even asking or seeing if I would be OK with it … I just really appreciate it.” Shortly after the Snapchat videos hit, Swift responded at length:
Members (or in Chloë Grace Moretz’s case, deliberate nonmembers) of Swift’s fabled squad weighed in with high-minded appeals to discuss more important issues:
And then social media exploded into flames. In no time, Selena Gomez was in a heated discussion of Black Lives Matter with a Twitter user named PraseJeebus before deleting a controversial tweet*:
Meanwhile, Khloé Kardashian decided it would be a good idea to tweet an alleged wardrobe malfunction photo of Chloë Grace Moretz; the 19-year-old actress responded that the photo wasn’t of her at all, but “some girl who was wrongly photographed.” Rank-and-file Kardashian fans and Swift nonfans joined the fray at hashtag #KimExposedTaylorParty. And all the while, Katy Perry smiled over the online bloodbath like some dark and vengeful god*:
As the casualties mount, the world hopes against hope that our feuding celebs can somehow find a peaceful resolution. But until that bright and happy day arrives, we’ll all apparently continue to closely monitor the situation, for some reason.
*Correction, July 18, 2016: This post originally embedded a tweet from a fake Katy Perry Twitter account. The fake tweet has been replaced with Perry’s actual tweet. In addition, Selena Gomez’s first name was misspelled.