Kim Kardashian may have studied her ass off to take the baby bar, but it appears she skipped the chapter on…not hawking cryptocurrencies without disclosing that a company paid you to do so.
On Monday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced charges against Kardashian for promoting a crypto asset on her Instagram without disclosing that EthereumMax paid her to advertise the currency, according to a press release. Her post also “provided instructions for potential investors to purchase EMAX tokens,” according to regulators. The SEC reported Kardashian was paid $250,000 to post about EMAX tokens and now owes the government a hefty $1.26 million—$1 million as a fine for ignoring disclosure laws and $260,000 to cover what EthereumMax paid her, plus interest. Kardashian has not admitted to or denied the SEC’s finding, but agreed to cooperate with the overlords.
“Ms. Kardashian is pleased to have resolved this matter with the SEC. Kardashian fully cooperated with the SEC from the very beginning and she remains willing to do whatever she can to assist the SEC in this matter,” Kardashian’s lawyer said, in a statement provided to Buzzfeed News. “She wanted to get this matter behind her to avoid a protracted dispute. The agreement she reached with the SEC allows her to do that so that she can move forward with her many different business pursuits.”
The 2021 post asked the question: “Are you guys into crypto????” Kim then hedged the ad by saying this was “not investment advice,” but her “friends” had recommended Ethereum Max’s token to her, followed by a bunch of other crypto buzz words like “burned” and “literally” and “400 trillion.” Kardashian did include “#AD” at the bottom of the post, but that apparently wasn’t enough for the SEC, who seemed horrified that the post also linked directly to the EthereumMax website where you could purchase tokens.
“This case is a reminder that, when celebrities or influencers endorse investment opportunities, including crypto asset securities, it doesn’t mean that those investment products are right for all investors,” SEC chair Gary Gensler said, a very good burn in my humble opinion. “Ms. Kardashian’s case also serves as a reminder to celebrities and others that the law requires them to disclose to the public when and how much they are paid to promote investing in securities.”
After a long few years of celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Matt Damon (Bitcoin’s price has dropped more than 60 percent since Damon participated in an ad with Crypto.com last year), Tom Brady, and French Montana hyping tokens to the general public, the SEC has finally had enough and is making an example out of the woman with the most clout: Kim and her 331 million Instagram followers.
Unlike Kim, who makes more money resting her eyes beneath a top-of-the-line LED light therapy mask than most of us make in an entire year, regular consumers do not have bags of money laying around reserved for risky investments. As we watch the crypto market continue to tank—it’s currently in a big old, grizzly bear market—celebrity sponcon posts are looking even more demonic by the minute. Sure, it’s fun for Kim to toss her extra millions into the quicksand of investments and know she’ll still have a pretty Maserati to drive around in and a few mansions to spare. But for us? Let’s just say purchasing whatever the fuck EMAX tokens are is not going to send me to the moon.