The XX Factor

Who’s Worse: Kim Kardashian or Kim Kardashian’s Friends?

Privacy, please.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

These questions are the best. This one is like “who would win between a saber-toothed tiger and an adolescent pterodactyl.” The occasion for the moral quandary: Kim Kardashian suspected that at least one of her friends would try to sell a picture of North, her new baby with Kanye West, to the tabloids. So she distributed fake baby pictures to six of her besties and waited for one of them to slip up. “Sure enough … someone came along and tried selling us this pic,” reported TMZ Tuesday, next to a huge spread of the “bogus baby.” There was also another image, of a second random infant, that Kim had apparently circulated to several other friends. Kardashian: 1. Komrades: 0.

But behind all this drama floats a complicated ethical question mark. That the images found their way to TMZ would seem to portend a sad truth—that Kardashian cannot trust anyone, that her friends are soulless money-grubbers—but is this so? Kim Kardashian likes publicity. (Also: Grass is green.) If you were a Komrade, how could you be so sure that Kim didn’t actually want the baby pictures plastered over every flat surface in America? That in entrusting you with the photos she wasn’t telling you, in reality TV star code, to share as widely as you could?

And let’s say she really did wish for privacy. What has she proven by setting up her friends, besides that she is the type of person to surround herself with fake friends, and knows it? In fact, it’s hard not to see the whole genius baby pic plan as just another publicity stunt, cynically/kynically engineered to stir up sympathy for Kardashian’s ceaseless exposure—an exposure she herself perpetuates. 

On the other hand, we do seem to hold a “given an inch, take a mile” philosophy with our celebrities. The new mom might have chosen to make certain chapters of her life public in the past, but that doesn’t entitle us to see or know all now. (Nor is it so implausible that maternal instinct might suddenly kick in where self-involvement used to reign.) An expectation of privacy among one’s close friends is really not so unreasonable, and Kim could have staged her betrayal in futile, but understandable, protest at what she saw coming.

So who’s worse? They all stink. Now how long do I have to wait to see pictures of that baby?