The Kardashian-West family is in no danger of divorce, though a popular joke format on Twitter had many thinking that they were this week. A number of users posted different versions of a tweet alleging that Kardashian and West — or other celebrity couples — had split up, with a link that apparently led to an article about the story. Instead, the link would lead to a voter registration site, encouraging people to vote in the midterms. While the joke got mixed reactions from individual users, it was widely panned when ELLE Magazine attempted it from its official account.
"Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are splitting up," the tweet read with a shocked face and a broken heart emoji. It even had a URL that began with the outlet's official website, though it redirected immediately to the voter registration page.
"So far in the primaries, women have beat long-time incumbents and created historic races, all while redefining what it looks like to be a woman in politics," it read. "And now you have the opportunity to vote for them, or whomever you choose, in the midterm elections."
Followers on both sides of the political spectrum condemned the post as "click bait" and "nonsense" once they had learned that there was no real danger in the famous marriage. Other media outlets in particular dragged ELLE for the stunt, which they argued helped to undermine trust in the media overall.
"Kim and Kanye are not splitting up, and ELLE is cruelly spreading fake news about someone else's marriage to try to get people to vote. This is sick," wrote Daily Caller media editor Amber Athey. "It's one thing for random twitter users to do this, but ELLE is a verified account purporting to share 'news.' Knowingly spreading fake content is unacceptable."
It’s not clever - its taking advantage of the situation. There are smarter ways to do it without lying in a climate where trust in media is crazy low— bubba atkinson (@BubbaAtkinson) October 18, 2018
"It's not clever — its taking advantage of the situation," added Bubba Atkinson of Axios. "There are smarter ways to do it without lying in a climate where trust in media is crazy low."
Many others noted the Tweet's implication that Americans had to be "tricked" into political action through celebrity gossip, as though they could not be interested in both.
This is trash nonsense. Who do you think you are reaching with this? Guess what? One can be civic minded and interested in celebrity gossip. Do better.— roxane gay (@rgay) October 18, 2018
"This is trash nonsense. Who do you think you are reaching with this? Guess what? One can be civic minded and interested in celebrity gossip," wrote author and comic book writer Roxane Gay. "Do better."
Elle ultimately responded with another tweet, deleting the original shortly after.
We made a bad joke. Our passion for voter registration clouded our judgement and we are sincerely sorry. //t.co/cYGGrpfBCz— ELLE Magazine (US) (@ELLEmagazine) October 18, 2018
"We made a bad joke. Our passion for voter registration clouded our judgement and we are sincerely sorry," it read.