If you’ve been seeing a resurgence of Julia Fox, actress, model, and ex-girlfriend to Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), on your socials lately, you’re not alone. The modern-day renaissance woman (you can add mother, former dominatrix, and former clothing designer to that résumé) has done it again. A person who first captivated the world with her weed-induced pronunciation of a film she starred in, Uncuh Jaahmz, has said Another Perfect Thing, and gone viral for it.
This time, Fox is in the news for an even juicier reason: She’s retconning her short tenure as Ye’s girlfriend. In a TikTok that went up on Monday, made in response to a follower’s comment calling her out for dating the “famously violent misogynist and antisemite” Ye, Fox explains that she was a big fan of Kim Kardashian’s and believed that if she dated her ex, she could distract him and get him “off Kim’s case.” Why Fox, of all people? She explains that, too: “If anyone can do it, it’s me, because when I set my mind to something, I do it.” (Get it, girl!) She goes on to say that her plan partially worked: Ye mostly left Kardashian alone for the month that they spent together.
This revelation, if it is one, has left us with more questions than answers (like: How bad is it to laugh at the way Fox delivers the line “Oh my God, like Kanye is yelling at me, like, what do I do?”) Below: Our best attempt at shedding light on the latest downstream drama created by the gravitational pull that is Ye.
I was in a Wi-Fi–free cabin in the woods in early 2022. Remind me what Ye and Fox’s relationship was like?
Ye and Fox were first reported as a potential item after hanging out on New Year’s Eve of 2021. Though they split a mere two months after that, their fling was an incredibly high-profile one. There was the infamous Carbone photo shoot and their multiple memed appearances during this year’s Paris Fashion Week, both on the carpet and off. Their relationship enthralled the public in part because of Ye’s simultaneous clash with his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian. People gossiped that Kim inspired many of Fox’s looks—especially the ones built around the clothes Ye gave Fox when they were together, playing dress-up like he used to do with Kim—all of which added another twist.
Do the public records of how Ye treated Kim during this short period support Fox’s claim that she, a hero, threw herself in front of Kim to take a hit for the team?
Before Fox and Ye got together, Kardashian’s equally media-friendly relationship with comedian Pete Davidson was beginning to solidify, and Ye didn’t handle it well. Just before Fox and Ye started dating, he publicly pleaded for Kardashian to come back to him during his reconciliation concert with Drake. At the tail end of his fling with Fox, Ye continuously harassed both Davidson and Kardashian, publicly questioning Kardashian’s parenting and accusing her of keeping their four children from him. Shortly after Fox and Ye called it quits, he released a music video for a song that not only threatened Davidson in the lyrics, but also depicted Ye burying a claymation figure of the comedian alive in the video. It was a lot. And the answer to your question is … maybe?
In her TikTok, Fox claimed Ye wasn’t as right-wingish when she began to date him. Is that true?
Before Fox and Ye started dating, Ye was already a very contentious figure. He has been waging a very public war with his own bipolar disorder for years, while simultaneously releasing chart-topping music and using his platform in ways that ranged from laughable to ridiculously harmful. There was the time he said slavery was a choice (2018), his vocal support for Donald Trump (also 2018; the next year, he seems to have walked that back a bit), and the many times he publicly defended or supported known and accused perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment, including Bill Cosby, Marilyn Manson, and Louis C.K.—all of which occurred before Fox came on the scene. In early 2022, Kardashian, who had stuck by Ye for a very long time, was trying to fight her way out—Fox, on the other hand, was sauntering in. Though it was widely believed that Fox and Ye’s relationship was just a PR stunt (at the time, Fox swore it was not), that didn’t prevent people from criticizing Fox for dating Ye as the relationship was ongoing—which they wouldn’t have done, if Ye wasn’t “as bad,” back then.
If all that is true, which it seems like it is, why are a lot of people on TikTok supporting Fox right now?
That’s thanks to popular TikTokker Bela Delgado, who attempted to clap back at Fox after she commented on a video in which Delgado addressed accusations of their own use of misogynistic language in their song “Annoying Ass Bitch.” (Seems … misogynistic!) Delgado, who is known for a variety of TikTok content, including popular rants and feuding with other TikTokkers, called Fox’s comments hypocritical, citing her relationship with Ye as proof of her personal support of a man who has caused harm to women. Delgado, in turn, came under fire for using misogynistic language in their own anti-misogyny rant against Fox—calling her a “clown” and chastising her for being “willing to lay down and get [her] pork chop penetrated” by Ye. The backlash to that caused Delgado to leave the app.
And what do you, my dear Explainer, think of Julia Fox now?
Fox defended herself in a follow-up TikTok, exclaiming that “there would be no men left to date” if women didn’t date misogynistic, patriarchal, and/or problematic men. She deflects any responsibility for aligning herself with Ye by claiming that this is what a patriarchal society has taught her to do: “Overlook the bad stuff and focus on the good.” She goes on to assert that there are good things about Ye. (She also ends up blaming white people for the state of the world, which is not where I was expecting that video to go.)
I was certainly someone who judged Fox harshly when news of this relationship hit, baffled at how anyone could date someone who has done so many harmful things. But it seemed to me, at the time, that the world was so exhausted with being continuously angry at Ye, rehearsing the same debates about his genius and his toxicity while he offered no regrets or apologies, that we transferred too much of our criticism onto a woman he dated. Fox’s claim of feminism does deserve to be interrogated, of course—it feels likely that this latest go-round is all just a great PR play to help her avoid apologizing for her public support of a known misogynist. But she’s not completely off the mark. The person we should be most vocally upset with is, still, Ye. Even further, we should be directing our ire toward the systems that protect harmful people from facing real consequences.
And, I’m sorry, but pawning off any responsibility for dating a problematic man by asserting that you only dated him to protect his ex is incredibly funny and iconic. Almost as iconic as claiming “I haven’t cried since 1997” when addressing media reports on your breakup. One more such absolute gem (sorry, jaahm) and I may just have to stan.