Two years ago, when Kanye West suddenly fired his manager and lawyer and professed his love for ‘my brother’ Donald Trump, his wife Kim Kardashian lashed out at the media for ‘trying to demonize my husband.’
In an angry series of tweets, she raged that the media’s ‘commentary on Kanye being erratic and disturbing’ is ‘actually scary’.
She added: ‘So quick to label him as having mental health issues for just being himself when he has always been expressive is not fair. Mental Health is no joke and the media needs to stop spitting that out so casually. Bottom line.’
Yesterday, the same Kim Kardashian reacted very different way to Kanye’s latest outburst of erratic and disturbing tweets about HER and their own family.
‘Kanye has bi-polar disorder,’ she wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. ‘Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand. I’ve never spoken publicly about how this has affected us at home because I am very protective of our children and Kanye’s right to privacy when it comes to his health.
‘But today, I feel like I should comment on it because off the stigma and misconceptions about mental health. Those that understand mental illness or even compulsive behavior know that the family is powerless unless the member is a minor. I understand Kanye is subject to criticism because he is a public figure and his actions at times can cause strong opinions and emotions.
‘He is a brilliant but complicated person who on top of the pressures of being an artist and a black man, who experienced the painful loss of his mother, and has to deal with the pressure and isolation that is heightened by his bi-polar disorder. Those who are close with Kanye know his heart and understand his words some times do not align with his intentions.’
She continued: ‘People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual themselves have to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try. Living with bi-polar disorder does not diminish or invalidate his dreams and his creative ideas, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some. That is part of his genius and as we have all witnessed, many of his big dreams have come true.’
Kim ended with this plea: ‘We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole, however we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most. I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this.’
First, let me acknowledge that it was good to see her finally speaking about Kanye’s mental illness.
I urged her to do something about his humiliating public self-implosion, in a column I posted on Monday, and she did.
It even emerged that she had tried that same day to get Kanye the medical treatment he so clearly needs, something I specifically urged her to do.
I also agree with her that bi-polar is a very complicated and painful condition that must cause huge stress for any family which has a member suffering from it.
And she’s right that Kanye is a sick man who deserves our compassion and empathy, even if there there’s something vaguely ridiculous about a Kardashian asking for privacy given how cynically and ruthlessly they’ve commercialised every aspect of their private lives for the past decade.
But none of her eloquent words yesterday, which attracted widespread praise and sympathy, give Kim Kardashian a pass for her complicit behaviour from the moment Kanye declared he was running for president on July 5.
It was obviously the very last thing anyone suffering from bi-polar should be doing.
For any doubt about this, consider what Kanye himself said about what he experiences when he has an ‘episode’ like the one that ended up with him being hospitalised in 2016 for a ‘psychiatric emergency.’
In May last year, Kanye appeared on David Letterman’s Netflix show ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction’ and said: ‘When you’re in this state, you’re hyper-paranoid about everything. Everyone now is an actor. Everything’s a conspiracy. You feel the government is putting chips in your head. You feel you’re being recorded. You feel all these things. You feel everyone wants to kill you. You pretty much don’t trust anyone.’
He added about his hospitalisation: ‘They have this moment where they handcuff you, they drug you, they put you on the bed, and they separate you from everyone you know.’
Self-evidently, someone who suffers such severe episodes like this should not be President of the United States.
Yet, Kim Kardashian watched her sick husband say he intended to run for president and enthusiastically endorsed it on the same day by retweeting his announcement with an emoji of an American flag.
Four days later, on July 9, she retweeted Kanye’s link to how to register to vote for him that he posted with the hashtag #2020vision.
These were both very significant contributions to his campaign, given that Kim has 65 million followers on Twitter alone.
They were also an outrageously irresponsible act by a woman who put the gleeful thought of possibly becoming First Lady above the country’s national interests.
Kim has known for at least four years, from when Kanye was first hospitalised and diagnosed, that his bi-polar mental illness makes him a very unstable person prone to severe episodes where he often behaves in a dangerously erratic manner.
Yet she still threw her huge social media firepower behind his presidential bid, knowing it would be a potential catastrophe if he actually won.
Can you imagine the scenario if he had a bad episode at the same moment the US was suddenly faced with a nuclear crisis?
And to those who say Kanye could never become president, I simply remind them that we currently have another billionaire celebrity in the Oval Office who propelled himself to electoral victory in 2016 through erratic antics, inflammatory statements, Twitter storms and gargantuan media attention.
Kim said yesterday that Kanye’s bi-polar disorder shouldn’t ‘diminish or invalidate his dreams, no matter how big or unobtainable they may feel to some.’
In the main, I agree – but it should absolutely prevent him running for president.
That’s not perpetuating any stigma about mental illness – I have incredible sympathy for anyone who is bi-polar and sincerely hope Kanye gets the help he needs – it’s just a cold hard very obvious fact.
So before everyone goes overboard with their cheers for Kim Kardashian’s ‘inspiring courage’ in speaking out about her husband’s mental illness, remember that she vilified the media as liars for saying the same thing two years ago, and she was prepared to put her own chilling ambition before Kanye’s health and America’s interests to back his presidential run.
Sorry, but that’s not something I feel like cheering.