People beat up on Kim Kardashian West a lot, mainly for the way she was introduced to the mainstream (her sex tape with Ray J) and the idea that she's "famous for being famous"—meaning that she has no real talent or skill to warrant all of her success.
I think that characterization is a bit unfair (she's an astute businesswoman who sells an aspirational lifestyle), but that's beside the point. Kim is a grown woman who eagerly stepped into the spotlight, so she can take the criticism. But it's another thing altogether to drag her and Kanye West's baby girl, North West, into the mud.
That's what Billboard magazine did Friday when it posted a tweet with a photo of North and her mom with the caption, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." North had her tongue out, about to lick a lollipop. There's the suggestion that the photo was referencing a sexual act that her mom did in the Ray J sex tape.
The tweet didn't go over well with people on Twitter who felt that Billboard had crossed the line by sexualizing a photo of a little girl. Billboard deleted the tweet and then tweeted that the comment was about how North doesn't like paparazzi, just like her parents.
Well, using a photo of North and her mom doesn't demonstrate that point because Kim loves the limelight. Hell, paparazzi made Kim. A photo of North with her paparazzi-hating dad, Kanye, would have been more appropriate.
People on Twitter aren't buying that excuse, and they're hammering Billboard as a result. Some say that mainstream outlets are more prone to sexualizing brown children than white ones. (Remember the uproar over the line about R. Kelly and Blue Ivy in that Hulu show?) Here is a glimpse at some of the spanking the magazine is receiving online:
It's nice to see that regardless of how much people may be annoyed about the Kardashian-Jenner media circus that never seems to end, they're still very clear about the boundaries we should all observe when commenting about these celebrities and their families.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.