Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Kanye West's Actions Are Stalking Behaviors

The rapper's public displays of affection toward Kim Kardashian are scaring me—and they should scare anyone who has ever tried to leave a relationship.

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 23: Ye attends the Kenzo Fall/Winter 2022/2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images For Kenzo)
Photo: Victor Boyko (Getty Images)

After a very public courtship and marriage, Kim Kardashian West filed for divorce from rapper Kanye West (legally known as Ye) in mid-February. In the wake of that filing, West—who shares four children with Kardashian—has exhibited behavior that ranges from bizarre to downright scary, and the media aren’t taking them seriously enough.

Kardashian, for her part, has attempted to keep the dissolution of her and West’s relationship behind closed doors, in the hands of lawyers and mediators. West—who openly pined for Kardashian for years before they got together and has since been seen out with Kim lookalikes—has other plans.

For the past six months, West has posted about the pair’s custody fight (including an accusation that Kardashian withheld the location of their child’s birthday party); made a song about how he wants to beat up Kardashian’s new boyfriend, Pete Davidson; publicly asked her to come back to him while performing at a benefit concert; sent a truck emblazoned with the phrase “MY VISION IS KRYSTAL KLEAR” with a bed full of flowers to Kardashian’s home for Valentine’s Day; posted and deleted paparazzi photos of Kardashian and Davidson, again threatening him; repeatedly shared screenshots of his private communication with Kardashian; and talked about the dissolving marriage publicly, while volunteering at a charity event benefiting the unhoused.

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This is not normal, and it should not be passed off as romantic or okay or fodder for our entertainment. “This situation is being treated as celebrity spectacle or like your typical Kardashian drama, but the behaviors are really familiar to us because of how much it mirrors real-life examples that we deal with in our law practice all of the time,” Annie Seifullah, an associate attorney with C.A. Goldberg Law, told Jezebel by phone. “Targets of this type of abuse know that once they physically separate themselves, they’re still going to be the subject and target of the ex partner’s obsession. And when the abusive ex partner no longer has like a physical or emotional control of the victim because they have left the situation, the ex partner often resorts to causing havoc around their target in order to maintain power and control even after they’ve left their relationship.”

Seifullah explained that while stalking via the internet is sometimes called cyber stalking, it’s very much still stalking.

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“Just because the abuser is using technology or using other people or impersonating accounts to continue to contact and menace, annoy, harass the target, it doesn’t make it any less scary or intrusive,” Seifullah said. “In fact, sometimes it makes it more scary and intrusive because a victim can actually physically escape the person, but they are still sort of caught up in the mess or the drama or the unwanted contacts that the abuser or ex-partner is attempting to use in order to maintain control over them.”

On Tuesday, West finally acknowledged that his behaviors “came off as harassing Kim. “I take accountability,” he said. But it’s not enough for West to merely tell his millions of followers that he’s taking accountability for one mistak e— especially when by Tuesday night, West was back to posting old photos of Kardashian.

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It’s objectively disgusting to read defenses of Kardashian with qualifiers like, “I don’t like Kim, but...” — Your opinion on Kardashian does not matter. What does matter is your opinion on intimate partner violence, of which stalking is one. A man stalking their partner who is trying to leave is unacceptable. Repeated unwanted public displays trying to win an ex-partner back isn’t okay, nor is publicly threatening the new romantic partner of an ex. Kardashian’s movements are being tracked. Her new boyfriend’s life is being threatened. And the public is treating this as if it’s just another storyline on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

It’s not.

It’s stalking.

Letting West get away with this behavior because you like his music or Yeezys is an awful choice. It’s saying that domestic violence is okay as long as the offender is rich or powerful enough. What he’s doing isn’t funny, and we aren’t entertained.