If you’re not caught up with the Kardashians, as it were, and their drama involving the newly infamous model and businesswoman Jordyn Woods, then you probably haven’t been on the internet in a while. In a nutshell, Woods (former best friend of Kardashian sister Kylie Jenner) was accused of hooking up with Khloé Kardashian’s boyfriend, Tristan Thompson.
With a questionable story stemming from details that vary from person to person — including anonymous sources that claim Thompson took everyone’s phones and went into a bedroom with Woods — it’s been difficult for the public to completely grasp the truth. What’s more is that many have admittedly gotten sick of hearing about the drama, encouraging the public to focus on more pressing matters. However, climate change will have to wait. There is one continually overlooked aspect of the cheating scandal that must be addressed: Jordyn Woods herself.
The majority of the story’s coverage rushed to Kardashian’s side, as she publicly shamed Woods in a series of now-deleted tweets. Everyone was talking about how hard it must’ve been for Kardashian, how horrible of a friend Woods was and how she let the fame get to her head. If there was even remotely any support given to Woods, it was usually to indicate that the situation wasn’t “completely,” her fault and that the public needed to start placing “some” of the blame on Thompson because, after all, he was the cheater.
However, hardly anyone was painting Woods as completely innocent. Even after her exclusive interview on Red Table Talk, in which Woods gave her side of the story to Jada Pinkett Smith, people were still more interested in Kardashian replying to the interview by calling Woods a liar. “The reason [her] family broke up,” one of her many assertions, drew much more attention than the interview itself.
The problem here is that Woods maintains that she and Thompson did not hook up, make out, sit on each other or do nearly any of the things that “sources close to the situation” claimed they did. In fact, Woods disclosed that the only intimate moment between her and Thompson occurred in the form of Thompson kissing her, completely out of nowhere as she was drunkenly leaving the party.
Woods explained that she did not anticipate it, she did not reciprocate and she was left confused, not knowing how she was supposed to feel. With everything but controversy seeming to blow over the public’s mentality, it was easy to forget that the aforementioned description met grounds for sexual assault. Everyone was simply too busy attacking Woods to notice.
In fact, Woods’ description of the incident sounds eerily like sexual assault, which has been known to leave victims feeling as if they are unable to share their trauma. She left out the kiss bit when telling Khloé and Kylie about the night, in an attempt to just forget about everything and move on. Sadly, not even Woods herself was able to recognize Thompson’s actions for what they were.
She fell into an impulsive cycle of victim-blaming, telling Pinkett Smith that she blamed herself for even going to Thompson’s house in the first place. She adds to this by indicating that she accidentally led him on by staying until the next morning. In moments like these, the importance of initially believing the victim’s words over everything else has proven to be essential, because you have no idea what they could be going through.
What followed for Woods, however, was anything but supportive. As soon as her interview went live, the Kardashian family was up in arms against her, blasting her online, unfollowing her, backing out of their business deals and accusing her of lying about what occurred that night and how she handled the situation privately (which they later tried to rescind).
What transpired can only be described as a powerful family of white women attempting to vilify a young, black woman in order to save face. After all, it’s much easier to call someone with less influence a home-wrecker than it is to admit that the father of your child is a serial cheater and sexual assailant. When you have the power of fame and privilege behind you, it just goes to show that the media runs with your story rather than post a “boring” truth.
That story doesn’t appear to be leaving the internet anytime soon, either. Following the release of the latest trailer for “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” it seems that the Kardashian family has devised a plan to market the scandal in their favor. The entire new season looks to be fully centered around the scandal, as each new trailer reveals more clips and information about this past February and how the family dealt with it.
However, with the season already several episodes in, viewers are anxiously awaiting to see drama unfold (as promised by the trailers), and the show has failed to follow through. By preying upon the public’s twisted desire to know more about what went down, The Kardashians are making as much money as they want without providing anything of substance. The inclusion of such a storyline in the first place is outright disrespectful, but to falsely lengthen it for profit is downright abhorrent.
In the era of #TimesUp and #MeToo, it is essential that the world starts looking at every situation through a more critical lens. The world needs to acknowledge all forms of assault for what they are, not what makes them interesting: it needs to look at the power structures that influence the way certain groups of people are systematically dismantled.
More people need to address the internalized prejudices and stereotypes that affect where they place blame. They need to hold the correct people accountable for their actions. They need to stand up for Jordyn Woods.