PuRposely PRovocative

      53 Comments on PuRposely PRovocative

Once again, the ethics of the PR profession have been threatened for the sake of publicity.

It happens often, of course. People and organizations have been purposely provocative for publicity’s sake since the birth of communication. Courting controversy is a proven technique for getting attention.  From dramatic pseudo-events like the Boston Tea Party in 1773 to PETA’s outrageous 2003 “Holocaust on a Plate” ads to Donald Trump’s candidacy, publicity is the goal even if the attention is negative.

KYLIE-JENNERIt’s this low-hanging branch of the public relations business that gives PR a bad name. While nearly all the professionals I know work ethically, intelligently and carefully, always keeping their firms’ and clients’ long-term best interests front and center, others look for the “quick hit.” For them, trending for a few hours on Twitter becomes a publicity home run.

This week’s example of this practice is Kylie Jenner’s cover photo for Interview magazine. Jenner was photographed in several provocative poses and outfits, but the cover shot of her sitting expressionless in a wheelchair went viral, outrage splashing across the Internet. Pam Wade Kenner, whose niece has cerebral palsy, tweeted, “Glamorizing the chair angers me…So incredible that nobody stood up and told Kylie Jenner that this was a bad idea.” Carol Glazer, the president of the National Organization on Disability, told “Today” said, “We hope that the next step here, in the media, is to bring into the mainstream really sexy women who are wheelchair users — not just Jenner, who is using a wheelchair as a prop. [The cover photo] leaves an unfortunate impression.” “It’s deeply disturbing,” said Emily Smith Beitiks of the Longmore Institute on Disability.

After the controversy boiled up, Interview issued this statement: “Our intention was to create a powerful set of pictures that get people thinking about image and creative expression, including the set with the wheelchair. But our intention was certainly not to offend anyone.”

Was this purposely provocative, a cover photo designed to create controversy? Is it effective publicity or bad PR? Does it cross the line of what are good, ethical public relations practices? Your thoughts?

53 thoughts on “PuRposely PRovocative

  1. premierorion

    For Interview magazine I find this interesting as they may believe, “all PR is good PR”. Many people have never heard of Interview magazine and with this one picture they are able to produce tons of publicity to themselves, however negative it may be. However, for Kylie Jenner it may work the other way as she was already very popular and some people already have a bad image of her this may only make it worse.

  2. Bianca Kroening

    I feel like this sort of PR is sort of expected of the Kardashians at this point. People love to find offense in their choices–perhaps it makes people feel better? Whatever the reason, Kardashian’s PR people have decided to throw morals and decency out the window a long time ago, as racy strategies fit the image that they want of their clients, and they keep meeting their goals. All we can do is sit back and watch until they cross the line, wherever that is at this point.

  3. kgorsky1

    I definitely think that this photo shoot was intended to be provocative to the public, although I’m sure it was not intended to be viewed as offensive. In our media nowadays, it is necessary to make a statement in order to gain attention, and I believe that is what they were doing when they took this photograph. However, I think that the Kardashians could go to an ice cream parlor and get just as much attention so I’m not sure why the wheelchair was a necessary prop.

  4. Dan Hanson

    I think it is bad PR, especially given the Kardashians’ track record. This photo is just bad criticism waiting to happen, and ultimately it did. I am not someone that favors political correctness, but in this case it’s just something that shouldn’t exist because of how offensive it can be viewed as.

  5. Nicole Garcia

    There’s no question this photoshoot was effective publicity. Everything this girl does becomes national news, and it’s working. However, it’s also abundantly clear the use of a wheelchair as a prop was distasteful and sheds light on not just Kylie’s ethicality, but the magazine’s as well.

    Given the aforementioned, I would also argue that perhaps this spread wasn’t produced despite public disapproval, but instead, was produced because it would cause outrage and therefore lead to publicity.

    Finally, despite the abundance of ethical PR practioners, situations like these are symbolic of why PR has a negative public connotation. And while these situations continue to happen, the field as a whole will continue to suffer the ripple effects.

  6. vciavarella24

    There was definitely a better way to get this cover message across, but I do not think it was too horrible. If the message behind it had to do with bashing people in wheelchairs then I would understand where wheelchair users would be offended. I personally have followed the Kardashian’s show for years and have always watched it, so being in that limelight and constantly in the media, something controversial like this is bound to happen. It also happened to Lady Gaga when she did a performance in a wheelchair.

  7. emilyfgreen

    I think it’s a no-brainer that this photo offended people. It upsets me too, and it doesn’t even hit home with me. Any smart PR person would be way more careful to avoid controversy and think ahead of possible consequences. It makes me think that this had to have been purposeful on some level.

  8. Erin Schmitt

    It seems as though the Kardashians live by the notion that “all publicity is good publicity,” whether this is a smart ideology or not. It’s disappointing that society pays excessive attention to such a morally corrupt family, and it doesn’t surprise me the lengths that they go to stay in the limelight. As you said in your post, they are purposely provocative in order to gain attention as it has seemingly continued to work for them. They remain in the news because of their ridiculous actions and it just adds to their level of exposure. Kylie Jenner’s photoshoot is quite shocking, especially for such a young girl, but it manages to get her name out there. The same can be said for “Interview” magazine, as it is not as mainstream as other publications so this works to get it on the map. I do find the wheelchair used as a prop to be insensitive, especially in the context of its supposed reasoning. For it to represent the hindrance that the media binds Kylie with is incredibly sad as it in no way compares to the lives of those who are actually faced with disabilities. She needs to be more grateful for the media as it allows her to live the extravagant life she leads, and she’s not one to be talking if she and her family are constantly exploiting it.

  9. Alexis Carfagno

    I think society nowadays appreciates any type of publicity – good or bad. As what we see in certain aspects of publicity, sometimes what is most controversial is what sells the most with the public and sparks more of their interest. I think that keeping this in mind, this puts a lot more pressure on PR professionals to practice good PR ethics and not succumb to doing something not so ethical just to be the trending topic. This is what separates a good PR practioner from one that is not – the good PR practioners know that following good PR ethics triumphs in the long run rather than getting coverage / a trending story.

  10. Kylie Todd

    I don’t think this controversy was entirely bad PR. First off, there were many supporters of the cover. In some people’s eyes, it represented people in wheelchairs in a positive light. It showed how being in a wheelchair doesn’t make a person any less beautiful or chic. However, I do believe that there were better ways to get that message across, such as casting an actual disabled person or including her interacting with other disabled people.

  11. alliegiordano

    The Kardashians can’t do anything right these days. Anything they do, or any celebrity for that matter, is always scrutinized. Personally I did not think the picture was totally offensive when I first looked at it. However, after reading your post and what Carol Grazer said , it made me realize that some people can see this to be disturbing. Especially people like Grazer and those who have a family member or friend who have a disability that constrains them to a wheelchair. I understand the cover was supposed to be artistic and aesthetically pleasing, but I think people need to put a little more thought into their ideas.

  12. Daphne Kotridis

    For such an unheard of magazine, I think this is certainly going to attract attention. One has to wonder if there’s some truth in the old “all publicity is good publicity” idea, and I don’t find this cover to be particularly offensive (though it may be a bit odd/distasteful), so maybe it will be good for the magazine. In terms of the content of the cover itself, I think it is a photographer’s weak attempt at being innovative and controversial, but that’s a different issue.

  13. A. Murphy

    In all honesty, I feel like general rules of what is acceptable don’t apply to the Kardashian family and their relatives. No one told her that this was a really bad idea because she is a Kardashian and “no one tells her she can’t do something.”

    Without getting heated, I feel like their lives are just waiting to experience a major crisis and the public will get to a point where people stop giving them ‘breaks’ and start holding them accountable for their really poor behavior.

  14. capriceoliver

    I believe that’s this was a bad case of controversy. Ethics definitely didn’t play apart in the thought process which is really sad. I was taught at a young age to never play with crutches or wheelchairs. The first reason was because of bad luck, you can be playing one moment and really be hurt in another. The second reason I was given was, it’s disrespectful. The Kardashian’s are known for starving for attention, but this was an epic fail. I don’t find it cute or funny one bit. How far will you go for fame? My soul is definitely not for sale!

  15. Lindsey

    I can understand the offensive overtones of this photo for the disabled. On the other hand, magazines and celebrities that are only famous for being famous need to constantly do provocative things to stay relevant. In this case I think it was just a creative and artistic look at the properties of a wheel chair. There will always be people on the internet that are professionally offended by everything. I think that is an overreaction. This is a celebrity being a celebrity and to put more stock into it than that is a waste of time.

  16. lourdesjc

    I don’t follow Kylie Jenner so when I heard her posing in a wheelchair and know that she’s usually under the spot light it didn’t seem like anything controversial. The first thought in my mind was that this was a way to express a misunderstanding between her and the public. She finds herself in a hole and can’t seem to get out of it. However, after giving it some thought and later seeing the photograph it seem silly she and/or her publicist agreed to this stunt. She has health, she seems to be comfortable financially, and she has family. Those look like sufficient reasons to be thankful for. Given she’s a public figure is no excuse to compare herself with others who truly go through hard times like dealing with illness, homelessness, and other problems. She has the capability of making decisions that will affect the public’s view on her. Looks like she took the easy way out, publicity that hurts her dignity. Now she’s getting to a point where it’s driving her up the wall and she’s trying to victimize herself. I’d say think again and be honest with the public and yourself. How do you want to be remembered?

  17. Maddi Roman

    I can understand how this is offensive. I know people who have been paralyzed and I have watched their disability alter their lives forever. It is not something to take lightly. I am sure that Kylie never meant to offend anyone, but she doesn’t seem to have a genuine or reasonable explanation for the wheelchair set.

  18. kassaramcelroy

    I think that everyone at the photo shoot had to have considered the fact that this image could be interpreted offensively. Kylie Jenner’s life is the complete opposite of a life of disability and struggle. This is yet another example of this family’s mindless actions. I would not want to be associated with Kylie Jenner/ Interview magazines public relations team. They give the field a bad name.

  19. Awoolman13

    This was absolutely done to create controversy. The Jenners and the Kardashians don’t care what kind of publicity they get, as long as they are covered and make money. This is very similar to Rolling Stone’s cover of the Boston Bomber a few years back. The front cover made him look like some kind of rockstar and gave him the cool nickname “The Bomber”. They knew that this would offend people, but they didn’t get because it got people talking.

  20. SShak

    As we all know, the Kardashians have built their fame on seizing opportunities to create controversy surrounding their names. In this situation, I think the message of “media debilitating Kylie” was not meant to offend anyone, but also not thought through. I do not think this was only a bad PR stunt on Kylie’s behalf, but also for Interview Magazine. Though it is unlikely that this will be detrimental for Kylie’s career, it is important that both Kylie and Interview Magazine be sure to think such controversial statements and photos through before releasing them to the public and consider how they will affect their careers and success.

  21. Forrest Gitlin

    I think part of the controversy over this photograph has to do with our society’s propensity to be offended. While I personally don’t find the photograph to be compelling, I can understand the reasoning behind that choice of prop. In today’s world someone is always going to be offended my an image. Whether it’s the use of Photoshop, the setting, the attractiveness of the subject, or the prop being used, there will always be people ready to throw their arms up is protest. Some images can be outright offensive and are best not taken let alone published, but in my opinion this isn’t that.

  22. Elaine

    For me, I think this is not totally a bad public relations event. Even if it will leave a bad impression on the magazine because most people are willing to believe this is an offend activity, for Jenner herself, she don’t think so. And the magazine also explain why they use the photo. Thus, I think if they don’t have any explaination it can be count as a bad PR activity. However, it is not. Because of the explaination, readers and her family will forgive the magazine.

  23. Nikita Hakels

    Well i think no publicity is bad publicity, if people talk about you good or bad they are still mentioning you right. Apart from that, the fashion world or modeling industry infact anything related to this has always come up with the weirdest things that might not be right to some people but it may seem right to others, I dont think it is a publicity stunt because as a matter of fact they could even make her pose naked and she would recieve fame right? I think its all about perception.

  24. haileyoliveri

    Being a Kardashian fan, this was interesting to me when it first came out. Personally I did think it was inappropriate. Out of all things Jenner could have photographed herself with, why allow herself to be photographed in a wheelchair? I was surprised how it was taken by some people. I have a friend who’s spent her life in a wheelchair and she looks similar to Kylie Jenner. She took it as Kylie Jenner finally looking like her. I think this could be taken either way but all in all it’s drumming up publicity, good and bad.

  25. lpardee1

    Everything the Jenner/Kardashian clan resembles is controversy. Mr. Kardasian was famous for being a lawyer on the OJ Simpson trials, Kim is known for her very promiscuous home videos and her 72 day marriage to Kris Humphries, Kourtney stirs up a lot of media coverage with her volatile relationship with Scott Disick. Kendall is a high fashion model who often exposes her body to the world. Bruce Jenner is known for his transition into Caitlyn Jenner. Kylie herself is known for growing up to fast and breaking molds. She at the age of 17 used lip enlargers and posts provocative pictures online. She is also famous for dating a 26 year old at the age of 17. Nothing these people do is of the norm. This family obviously doesn’t care what impression they make on the world, they are going to do what they want. It has never stopped them before.

  26. Lysa Carre

    If Interview’s objective was to get people thinking about image and creative expression by using the wheelchair as a photoshoot prop—then I would say yes it is effective publicity and it is also bad PR. Publicity can be considered effective whether the feedback is positive or negative; it doesn’t matter because either way it’s getting media spotlight. There are people who believe any publicity is good publicity; and find that to be successful whether the message being portrayed is good or bad. Not everyone intends to contribute toward the public good, especially if they just want attention. However, regardless of what Interview’s intentions may have been, in my opinion it’s common sense to know that using a wheelchair as a photoshoot prop is offensive, and nothing good is going to come out of such a sensitive topic. Nonetheless, being that Interview blatantly admitted to “getting people to think about image and creative expression,” obviously they did expect it to be controversial, but perhaps not as bad, crossing the line of ethical public relations practices.

  27. azachar1

    Hi Professor Morosoff,

    This blog post is extremely important. It is thanks to professionals like you that are highlighting the “no no’s” of PR that ethics continues to exist in this field.

    To me this definitely feels like a publicity stunt. The whole Jenner/Kardashian family is also about publicity stunts that spark controversy….I’ll include Kanye West in this group as well. Jenner and the magazine had to have known this picture was going to spark a cry for attention on social media.

    It is so unfortunate that so many PR practitioners feel that they do not have to abide by the code of ethics. What makes such practitioners feel that they are above what is moral and right? Through my independent study next semester I really hope to learn more about PR ethics and how we can prevent bad habits in the PR industry.

  28. syanok

    The entire basis of the Kardashian/Jenner source of fame is controversy. They constantly and purposefully place themselves in controversial situations for attention. This has always been their go-to tactic. It seems to have worked for them, but I believe she took it too far with this cover shoot. I believe that having a capable PR person in her corner would have avoided this entire situation because they would have kept the best interest and opinions of her publics at the forefront of this shoot which I’m sure includes those with physical disabilities, which it should have been, this being for a popular magazine with her face on the front. In most cases such as this I would blame her PR team or lone practitioner fully, but I will take it a step further to say she herself should have known better. She made a conscious decision to be photographed in a wheelchair not to raise awareness for the disabled, but simply to be provocative. For Kylie and her family, I will not say whether this is good or bad publicity, but rather exactly the type of publicity they have built their “careers” on.

  29. joebarone28

    I just think it is just seriously poor PR. The cover was intentional – no doubt about it. With the Jenners and Kardashians, they will do anything for publicity. They will do anything to trend and get more followers and likes on Instagram and Twitter. By doing that, they win what they wanted all along – more attention. I just think it is bad PR because why else would you put a fully abled woman in a decorative wheelchair? No – if you wanted to convey the same message, get a young girl in a wheelchair, decorate and glamor her up, and then put Jenner in the back around her smiling or hugging the little girl – that is GOOD PR. Awful. Just awful and annoying.

  30. Marc Roessle

    I personally don’t really care about or follow the Kardashians. The quick hits for PR work in certain situations. In certain situations it does not. The Kardashians get so much publicity as it is already so the quick hit worked. I personally don’t care or have anything to say about the photos themselves. I do think the quick hit method is a little unethical, but you do whatever you have to do to get ahead in this world.

  31. emilyrwalsh

    I feel that if Kylie was trying to make a statement, there were many others ways she could have gone about it. Posing in a wheelchair is offensive but it did create the buzz that she wanted. I am not surprised at all that the Kardashian/Jenner family pulled something like this. They use PR negatively to make themselves more powerful in the media. PR is such an amazing field, however, it is sometimes given a bad wrap, especially in the entertainment field. In areas such as nonprofit, government, etc., PR is used as a positive tool in an ethical way. Unfortunately, bigger and more provocative stories will take the lead when it comes to controversy. But this cover was created to generate attention… and it definitely worked.

  32. hallieabish

    This cover was 100% intentional. It was definitely meant to get people talking about it. The magazine even said that they wanted people to think. It is definitely fitting that the magazine chose to have a member of the Kardashian/Jenner clan as the face of this cover. They are always a topic of conversation for many. Although I do not think it is appropriate for them to create controversy especially when many people live their day to day lives in a wheelchair, they definitely got exactly what they wanted. In today’s society it has become normal to take certain steps to create controversy.

  33. Pakelody Cheam

    Like some who have already commented, it’s not shocking that this has taken place. Celebrities -not just the Kardashians- pull controversial publicity stunts all the time. The Kylie Jenner wheelchair fiasco was meant to generate buzz and it did.
    I don’t think the Interview’s purpose of getting people to think “about image and creative expression” carried out. People aren’t thinking about whatever backwards artistic message the creators wanted attached to the image. People are talking about how offensive it is towards the disabled continuity. I personally have never heard so much buzz about the disabled community until now.

  34. Sara Fox

    These photographs of Kylie Jenner actually enraged me when I first saw them! The first thing that came to my mind was that this was yet another tacky publicity stunt done by the Kardasian clan to get attention. It does not make sense that not one person on her team or this magazine did not realize what an offensive and horrible idea this cover was. Of course everyone did, but chose to disregard any morals for the sake of media attention. This cover got Kylie and her family additional media coverage, and sold this magazine. It was a win-win for everyone.

    You can’t really deny that this was effective PR considering that everyone with a computer, smartphone or TV could easily come across these pictures simply because of the widespread buzz. If these pictures were not offensive and gained attention in a more ethical way, it would be a PR homerun. However, the photograph of her in the wheelchair undoubtedly crosses the line of what is good public relations practices. She obviously feels the need to be offensive and therefore controversial in order to get that media coverage she desires which is unethical.

  35. Rebecca Haines

    In my opinion, I think that people find any reason they can to hate on the Kardashians. They are the most famous and talked about family and everyone knows who they are. I will say that I actually love the Kardashians and Jenners and watch their show. Personally, when I saw this picture, I did not think anything of it. I then realized that it can be offensive to people who are in wheelchairs or who know people in wheelchairs. The people who work for Kylie Jenner and Interview Magazine should have known that this could have caused a controversy. I also think that because Kylie is the youngest in the family, all eyes are on her as she grows up and she is constantly being criticized.

  36. Jack De Gilio

    I’m going to be honest and say that I actually was not very informed about this Kylie Jenner cover shot, but it doesn’t surprise me how wrong it was, especially considering the fact that it is someone that is in the Kardashian clan. I think this brings comparisons to the shock value of a cover shot that Kim Kardashian did last year with Paper Magazine, and I think it just kind of goes to show that the Kardashians use shock value and controversy as a means of publicity. I think that it’s stupid what Kylie Jenner did and whoever thought that this shot was a good idea makes me wonder what they could have possibly been thinking when doing this shoot, but I think that this is the way publicity works for reality stars such as the Kardashians.

    I would say that the Kardashians reputation is negative for the most part. Many people love to hate on the family, and from what I’ve heard from friends and family, many people watch their reality show as a way to make fun of the family and to feel better about themselves. In my opinion, I think if I had that kind of reputation, I would be completely embarrassed because I feel like that people would view me as shallow and ignorant. In a way, I can see what the goal was for the cover shot, and they had some good intentions, but I think that the shot would have been way more effective if the model were a man or woman that actually used a wheelchair. I think choosing to use Kylie Jenner for the shot was mostly a publicity stunt that was aimed toward getting people talking.

  37. Judea Hartley

    What I am about to say is really unfortunate. This photo of Kylie Jenner is actually effective publicity. In this day and age, social media plays a major factor in the way in which we communicate with one another. It is a vital avenue to gain promotion and publicity. In this society, I believe that most people believe that any publicity is good publicity. I beg to defer. However, just because i have a different opinion, my opinion doesn’t mean that this philosophy is completely incorrect. I do believe that this picture of Kylie is very offensive to the people who are actually suffering from health challenges that causes them to utilize a wheelchair on a daily basis. I furthermore believe that this provocative photograph was taken ON PURPOSE. From the magazine, to the the makeup artist, to the designer, to the photographer, they ALL knew what risk they were taking and what type of controversial responses were going to arise because of this picture. I actually do believe that this is bad PR because PR is about creating and maintaining a credible trustworthy relationship with an organization/individual and its publics. Many publics feel offended by her picture so this isn’t maintaining or forming a healthy relationship at all. I do think this CROSSES THE LINE of what good ethical PR stands for because good PR involves effective positive communication with the public, ways to promote one’s image in a positive light, and it involves relationship building. This picture was taken to promote who ”Kylie Jenner” is and its intent was to bring about ANY type of publicity. I believe Kylie alongside the magazine completely disregarded the possible feelings that other publics would have towards this photograph.

  38. Kara

    I am embarrassed to say that I am a devoted follower to the Kardashian clan. It is a guilty pleasure of mine that I am not proud of due to the fact that I don’t agree with a majority of their decisions; this cover is no exception. If Interview magazine wanted to bring attention to beautiful women in wheelchairs, they should have used an authentic model in a wheelchair. It is sad to think that this campaign does not surprise many people, however, it is simply the way the Kardashian family wants to be reacted to by society as a whole.

  39. Tara

    It is hard for me to believe they did not think the cover photo would cause controversy. Especially, in this day and age where everything has to be politically correct and people get offended over little things like coffee cups. It was not tasteful to put Kylie Jenner posing in a wheelchair even if they thought it would encourage people to think. I do not think it is effective PR, because while Kylie is getting publicity, it is not very good publicity and it is hindering her reputation.

  40. boxofficesam

    I think we live in a time where you can’t do anything without offending someone. Everyone can be offended by anything. I see this especially when looking at friends of mine who are tv writers. They are so restricted in what jokes they can write and what they can say because everything has to be “PC”. I’m so sick of it, we are creating an environment that is overly sensitive to everything. In a country that is supposed to be tolerant of all it’s people, we have become pretty intolerant. I’m not defending the Kardashins or whoever is in the picture. I hate the Kardashins, not because I love to hate them. I hate that their famous for no reason. I hate that the world would rather pay attention to this stupid family and their problems than the problems that actually matter and effect the world we live in. I don’t understand why the picture is offensive to people. I think it’s just plain stupid. And the fact that the president of the National Organization on Disability, first thought was “bring [in]… sexy women who are wheelchair users” angers me. Just like the plastic surgery addicted family that is the Kardashins (and no that isn’t a shot at Bruce Jenner or Caitlyn Jenner or whatever he/she is going by now).

  41. Victoria Reid

    At this point, I don’t think that many people are surprised by what the Kardashian/Jenner sisters do, even when it something as controversial as posing in a wheelchair. Although it’s considered provocative pr, I do think their intentions are good and they honestly felt like they were creating original, thought-provoking content. What they didn’t consider, were the feelings of those who are wheelchair-bound. In this case, I do think it crossed the line of pr ethics because they went too far to make a statement.

  42. Sarah

    I am personally not a fan of the Kardashian family, I think it’s distasteful how they have to expose themselves or pull some sort of media stunt to make money. If they had a talent or a skill they wouldn’t have to do that. Although I like the artsy look of the magazine cover, I think it was a poor choice to use a wheelchair. I can see why some people may take offense to it. I also think the cover is slightly provocative considering Kylie’s age (even if she is 18).

  43. audrathorsen

    When I saw this photo of Kylie Jenner I can honestly say I laughed out loud. I laughed because it is astonishing that a group of people came together and agreed that this would be a good idea for a photo. I am completely on Pam Wade Kenner’s side when she says, “…So incredible that nobody stood up and told Kylie Jenner that this was a bad idea.” I think this was definitely purposely provocative because everything Kylie Jenner does whether it’s on social media or her next photo shoot, is provocative. I’m not sure if it was designed to create controversy because Kylie Jenner takes heat every single day for doing something else that most of America doesn’t agree with. I think Jenner genuinely just does not have a clue. This is hands down bad PR and definitely crosses the line of what is considered good, ethical public relations practices. How can they not think that this photo would be offensive? I am all for a magazine hiring people who are actually physically disabled and showing the world what they are capable of. But to hire someone who is not physically disabled and to use a wheel chair as a prop is just wrong and seriously bizarre.

  44. ChloeLauraDale

    This is a classic Kardashian move. They rely on controversy because that’s the only way they get attention. When launching these kind of publicity stunts, it’s all about them. They give very little thought to how it might make others feel. People with disabilities don’t have the luxury of sitting in a gold-plated wheelchair for an hour during a photoshoot. Instead, a wheelchair is a year-round limitation. She’s made it into a fashion statement, yet wheelchairs are far from a glamorous accessory. The whole shoot was done in bad taste and I think it’s a shame we give them the attention they want. Celebrities who are in it for the long run would never pull this kind of stunt because they care about their reputation. I think the Kardashian are going to struggle to stay relevant in the future, so that’s why they are making the most of their Twitter trends, rather than thinking about any sort of long-term legacy.

  45. Katherine Hammer

    I think that Interview magazine knew that the cover with Kylie Jenner would go viral. When it comes to the Kardashians, they sure like to be in the spotlight, and not in the best way. I think that the intentions of revealing what Kylie’s life is like in the media by using a wheel chair went a little too far. Americans are very sensitive to disabilities, and no matter what someone who created this cover would have known that this would be offensive. Although I only saw the picture and did not read the article, mostly because I am very uninterested in what the Kardashian/Jenner clan do, I believe it is bad publicity. How could one know the artistic expression Interview magazine was trying to portray? Anyone who just picked up the magazine and saw this image on the cover could get offended, especially because there was no explanation right away. In this case I believe it crossed the line in pr practices, because they didn’t think about all of the different people that could be seeing this cover and be offended by it.

  46. Rachel Tyler

    I believe Interview Magazine was trying to encourage people to think but I honestly do not think this was a tasteful shoot. Anytime something is done that reflects people with disabilities you are going to run into controversy. For this reason, I think people need to think more carefully before they do shoots like this. I believe it reflects bad PR. Kylie supports people with disabilities on her instagram all the time and I think this almost shows her mocking them.

  47. Emily DiLaura

    This angers me so much. As someone who would love to work in civil rights and spends much of their free time researching groups of people that are considered minorities, such as the disabled, I find this photo to be mocking and distasteful. Kylie Jenner’s big push on social media has been giving a voice to those who do not get the chance, highlighting those with rare diseases, disabilities, and disorders that have been mocked. Yet here she is, a fully able bodied person, glamorizing a wheelchair. The other shots in this series are equally distasteful and very inappropriate, especially for Kylie’s age and demographic audience. The reactions to this photo that matter most are those who are permanently in wheelchairs due to a disability. Those who are actually in the situation Kylie is imitating. A wheelchair gives them opportunity that an able bodied person already has. A wheelchair is not a prop to be used like this. I read an article yesterday found through UpWorthy where a 17 year old girl named Ophelia who lives her life in a wheelchair stated that it is NOT a fashion statement. This is horrible PR if you ask me, and personally makes me feel like all of the work Kylie has been attempting to do for those without a voice, is just an act and another stunt. Just when you think the Kardashians may be decent people, one of them does something else horrible.
    Walking is a privilege that not everyone has and the fact is that as soon as the photoshoot is over, Kylie can stand up and walk out of there without the chair. Ophelia ended the article with this: “This photo was a mistake, and if you’ve read this, I forgive you. We’re all learning and we’re all growing. I hope this can be a learning experience for you, your photographer and the magazine.” I couldn’t agree more.

  48. Jeff Lansky

    I think that the cover was created to gain attention. Anytime Kim Kardashian is on a magazine cover it makes its rounds on the web. The same thing is beginning to happen with Kylie as she covers magazines. I think that taking the picture in the wheelchair was a bad move and there were probably many other cover options that would have gained publicity.

  49. jheiden1

    The Kardashians have always made me roll my eyes to the back of my head, so I’m not at all surprised about this most recent stunt. It’s disturbing to me that she felt it acceptable to use disability as a prop. There really is no justifying the behavior. The whole thing is just shameful all around.

  50. Dale Ciampa

    I think this cover was published to create attention. The fact that she is a Kardashian adds to the attention that the cover will receive. It was a little insensitive for the editor to put such a dramatic picture on the cover. A lot of people are seriously hurt and need to be put in wheelchairs for their lives. I know if someone i knew closely had to live in a wheelchair I would not think this was appropriate. The photographer and editor could have taken many other pictures to create a public reaction. Then again the kardashians always seem to do something dramatic to create public attention. In the end this picture created a lot of attention and exposure. The media being debilitating to Kylie is completely different than someone who has a medical issue. Therefore i can see how this cover is offensive.

  51. zhenpanda

    A lot of what the Kardashians do are basically publicity stunts. I think to operate as a PR person, certain clients will get different treatments. Personally I think there is nothing wrong with taking a picture in a wheelchair but I can also see why it may offend people.

  52. Chelsey Fuller

    It is sad that when I saw this photo for the first time I wasn’t surprised at all. The Kardashian/Jenner clan love to step outside boundaries and make spectacles in order to “break the internet.” The magazine is known to put out some pretty elaborate covers and this is just going along with their brand. Sadly, our society does take every little thing personally. Maybe it is just best to ignore it. However, I don’t think this cover was meant to cause a controversy, but I can’t help but think that they must have been prepared to face some backlash.

  53. Abby Drapeau

    I think people love to hate the Kardashians which is one of the reasons why this is probably going so viral. I read that this cover was supposed to represent how the media can be debilitating to Kylie, which can be a really artistic way of looking at it. However, we live in a very sensitive society, and no matter what somebody does, someone out there will be offended. That being said, people who are forced to live their entire lives in a wheelchair probably won’t see this as glamorous and I can understand if they are offended by this article.


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