Why are we still talking about Kim’s sex tape in 2022?

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Ask Google why Kim Kardashian is famous and you’ll get three recurring answers: hit reality show keeping up with the Kardashiansher rocky relationship with rapper Kanye West and, of course, the infamous 2007 sex tape she starred in with then-boyfriend Ray J.

In the 15 years since her release, Kim has remained forever linked to the infamous band, Kim Kardashianstar, and it is often joked about – even wrongly – as the reason for his fame. And while you can hope we’ve all collectively moved on over the past decade and a half, it looks like Kim’s sex tape is once again becoming the talk of the town. But why are we still talking about it in 2022?


The cat sex tape’s comeback is due (in part) to the Kardashian-Jenner family’s new Disney+ reality show, The Kardashians. The first episode, titled “Burn Them All To The F***ing Ground,” sees Kim face another sex tape leak threat, with footage allegedly obtained by Ray J.’s former manager Trying Desperate to put an end to the situation, after discovering the rumor on her son Saint’s Roblox account, Kim is seen crying over the phone to her lawyers. Then, later, the tape reappears as she considers including a joke about the situation in her. Saturday Night Live monologue.

Kim Kardashian is back in the Kardashians, but why are we still talking about it

Lionel HahnGetty Images

What’s interesting is that, for viewers and the Kardashians alike, it feels like we’ve seen it all before. There’s a stark parallel — as even sister Khloé Kardashian points out — between the sex tape mentioned in the early days of the original reality show. keeping up with the Kardashians (which launched in 2007), and now in the first episode of the family’s new TV adventure.

Consoling Kim in The KardashiansKhloé tells her, “Didn’t we take care of that the first season of keep the rhythm? That’s a good omen, you guys… you talk about your sex tape in the first season. I feel like we’re back to day one!”

Even if she jokes, Koko is right. Although Kim, her family and her career have progressed over the past 15 years, her image and celebrity status have changed unrecognizably since 2007 (preparing for SNL, she recalls a time when she couldn’t even get invited to fashion shows), it seems like the sex tape is the only thing that keeps following Kim. Regardless of what else she accomplished, the tape has unmistakably remained a part of Kim’s personal brand. Shouldn’t we all let it go? Or should she (and us) continue to kiss him?

Kim Kardashian's sex tape is back in the Kardashians, but why are we still talking about it
Kim in 2007.

Jeff VespaGetty Images

It seems that Kim herself doesn’t even know. The Kardashians episode two sees her working on her SNL monologue with actor and comedian Amy Schumer, debating whether to put a joke about his sex tape in the script. On the one hand, Kim wants to thwart the people threatening to leak the tape, regaining power over the situation through her jokes. On the other, Amy tells her to leave the sex tape out of her SNL moment, saying, “this work of art…will live on”, suggesting that any mention of the tape would only bring it back to the forefront of everyone’s mind. For all time.

Over the years, Kim has always maintained that she did nothing wrong and shouldn’t feel bad about the tape. Back to the early days of KUWTK, a clip showed Kourtney asking Kim during a practice “interview,” “Why did you make a sex tape?” “Because I was horny and wanted to,” Kim replies. The moment is now iconic among fans of the show, and the message — casually defending yourself against slut-shaming — is one that resonated with many.

Kim Kardashian's sex tape is back in the Kardashians, but why are we still talking about it
Kim for Hulu’s The Kardashians.

Frazer HarrisonGetty Images

Now, nearly two decades later, Kim needs to reiterate that point. “For 20 years, it’s been going over my head, of this mistake – or is it a mistake? He was my boyfriend, you know, of years. We go on a trip, we shoot a video. It’s embarrassing for it to be there, but it’s not the most outrageous thing and I’m not going to feel like that. I’m just human,” she said.

It might be a low-key response to shaming sluts (and, yes, one of the world’s most privileged women), but Kim’s message, dismissing suggestions that she should be ashamed, is still powerful – in particularly in a larger conversation about revenge. porn and anti-victim blame.

And yet, while there’s something so powerful about Kim owning the situation, she should also be able to put it behind her if she chooses. To reclaim her narrative and have control of the gang in any way she chooses, rather than holding them over her head as a threat. Whether that means through a joke or an on-camera diary entry, it should be his tape, on his terms.

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