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Here's Why 2020 Was The Kardashians' Most Controversial Year Yet

From their handling of the coronavirus pandemic to deciding to end their show, the family has had a dramatic year in 2020.

The Kardashian/Jenners have always caused drama wherever they go, but this year has been exceptionally eventful. So, without further ado, here are their biggest controversies of 2020.

1. Their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Within months of the first stay-at-home orders being issued, the Kardashian/Jenners were criticised for mingling with people outside of their own households and throwing family parties.

And in October, Kim caused uproar after announcing on social media that she had celebrated her birthday on a private island with 40+ friends and family members where they "danced, rode bikes, swam near whales ... and so much more".

Before COVID, I don’t think any of us truly appreciated what a simple luxury it was to be able to travel and be together with family and friends in a safe environment.

"Before COVID, I don't think any of us truly appreciated what a simple luxury it was to be able to travel and be together with family and friends in a safe environment," she wrote on Twitter.

"After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time," she continued.

"I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is. #thisis40," Kim concluded her post.

We danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more. I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is. #thisis40

But Kim's announcement created an instant backlash with people calling her "tone-deaf" and "repulsive" for both taking the trip and publicising it on social media during a pandemic that has so far killed over 280,000 Americans.

@KimKardashian I know normally you thrive off being out of touch with ordinary people but this is a whole new level of disgusting abuse of wealth and privilege at a time when thousands are dying alone and millions have not seen family for months.

Then, just a week later, Kendall Jenner drew similar criticism after hosting a 25th birthday party with over 100 attendees, and an apparent social media ban to keep the whole thing underwraps.

no but kendall jenner really threw a big ass party with all those celebrities without masks in the middle of a pandemic with a “no social media” rule so people wouldn’t find out about it....

And, three weeks after Kendall's birthday, the family were called out once again for appearing to flout official CDC guidelines by spending Thanksgiving together and flaunting the celebration all over Instagram.

Instagram: @kourtneykardash, Instagram: @khloekardashian

Despite citizens being advised to limit travel and celebrate virtually — and official CDC guidelines stating that the number of in-person Thanksgiving attendees should be as limited as possible — at least 14 Kardashian/Jenners gathered at Kris' Palm Springs home for the holiday.

There, they flouted a range of other guidelines, including failing to social distance or wear masks, and enjoying a potluck style buffet while waiting staff and chefs could be seen in the background of their social media posts.

After months of criticism, though, the family confirmed earlier this week that they've decided to cancel their annual Christmas Eve party due to the surge in COVID cases after initially hoping to find a way for it to go ahead.

2. Their failure to endorse a presidential candidate.

Getty Images

Despite the 2020 race being repeatedly described as a once in a generation election, the Kardashian/Jenners refused to publicly confirm who they were planning to vote for.

The family's insistence on remaining publicly impartial was probably down to two reasons.

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

First, Kim's husband, Kanye West, was running for president too. He announced his candidacy in July but eventually conceded after receiving 60,000 votes.

But secondly, it's probable that Kim wanted to protect her prison reform work. Had she publicly endorsed Biden and Trump had won, it's unclear how cooperative Trump would have been in continuing to hear her cases and grant clemency for the people she and her lawyers represent.

However, the family's lack of clarity around their voting plans not only drew criticism from those who accused them of failing to use their platform for good, but led to a huge controversy on the day of the election.

Instagram: @kimkardashian

After posting a photo of herself dressed in red and holding an "I voted" sticker, many fans began speculating that Kim had voted for Trump. After seeing the thousands of comments, Kim went on to delete the original post and re-upload the image — this time in black and white.

But when the race was eventually called in Joe Biden's favour, the family confirmed in a series of social media posts that they had indeed voted for him and not Trump.

3. Kylie Jenner being accused of not being a billionaire after all.

Of course, Kylie being heralded a "self-made billionaire" sparked controversy once again, with many people claiming that she'd benefited hugely from her family's platform and therefore hadn't earn the money unaided.

if you can tell me that her lip kits and makeup line would’ve sold anywhere near the amount they did if she didn’t happen to be born into one of the richest and most successful reality TV families, then i’ll sit my ass down. but the fact of the matter is, YOU CANT.

But just a month later, Forbes stripped Kylie of her billionaire status after releasing a report claiming she'd deceived them about her finances.

In the report, Forbes claimed that the Kardashian/Jenners went to “unusual lengths” to present Kylie as wealthier than she actually was.

The publication claimed that the family's accountant had provided them with tax returns suggesting Kylie Cosmetics had generated more than $300 million in sales in 2016, with publicists claiming sales of $330 million in 2017. However, information shared by Coty — the company that purchased Kylie Cosmetics in 2019 — suggested that her business was actually "significantly smaller and less profitable than the family had spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets ... to believe."

Forbes then reevaluated Kylie's wealth, suggesting she'd actually made $340 million from the sale of Kylie Cosmetics. They went on to declare that she wasn't a billionaire after all, and instead valued her worth at "just under $900 million."

Kylie, however, responded to the report by denying that she'd ever "lied" to inflate her wealth or asked for the title of "self-made billionaire."

what am i even waking up to. i thought this was a reputable site.. all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. i’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period

And she added that she was "blessed beyond her years" and unfazed by the report.

“even creating tax returns that were likely forged” that’s your proof? so you just THOUGHT they were forged? like actually what am i reading.

but okay 🤍 i am blessed beyond my years, i have a beautiful daughter, and a successful business and i’m doing perfectly fine.

For the record, Kylie has always maintained that she used "100% of [her] own money" to start Kylie Cosmetics and hasn't "inherited a dime" from her family.

4. Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson appearing to reunite after two huge cheating scandals.

Jerritt Clark / Getty Images

Khloé and Tristan have had a tumultuous relationship to say the least. Back in 2018, he was accused of cheating on her just days before she gave birth to their first child together. Despite the betrayal, Khloé decided to give their relationship another go. However, less than a year later he was accused of cheating again — this time with Kylie Jenner's best friend, Jordyn Woods. After branding Tristan "disgusting," Khloé ended their relationship — seemingly for good.

But despite all the acrimony and pain of the last two years, 2020 has seen their relationship take a turn with Khloé and Tristan appearing to reunite.

Things began back in April, when Khloé revealed that she was considering using Tristan as a sperm donor as she began the process of freezing her eggs. But she eventually decided that she would go one step further and actually create embryos with her ex for possible future use.


"After my doctor's appointment, I talked to Tristan," Khloé said during an episode of KUWTK. "If you can create embryos, and do all the DNA testing, I do think that's the smarter choice. But it's weird, because Tristan and I — we're not together. I have no idea what my future holds for Tristan and I, but I really think I would feel a lot better knowing I have five embryos in a freezer if I want to use them."

Shortly after Tristan and Khloé committed to potentially having more children together, the world was plunged into coronavirus lockdown and the pair decided to quarantine together. This led to a lot of speculation among the rest of the family that they were secretly hooking up.

Then, during the season 19 finale of KUWTK last month, Khloé revealed that she was attempting to rebuild trust with Tristan in order to take him back.


"For almost a year now, you've been a completely different person," she told Tristan. "It frustrates me because I'm like, 'Why now? Why are you the man I dreamed of currently? Why couldn't you have been like that when we were together?'"

"I don't know what the future holds," she added. "All I do know is I'm actively trying to take down little bricks, I'm trying to be more trusting. It's a slow process, but that's just how it has to be for me. I do appreciate the effort you make and the new you — it's night and day who you are."

The pair even went on to joke about Tristan's infidelity.

During one scene, Tristan joked that when Khloé wore glasses she looked like "the smart girl I’m going to cheat off on the test."

"Thank god you said, 'On a test,'" Khloé responded.

In another scene, Khloé Facetimed Tristan to show him a pillow she'd decorated to keep herself company during COVID isolation. "I know how much you like other women, so..." she told him.

And, not only have they been inseparable this year, celebrating birthdays and holidays together, but he's left Instagram comments suggesting they're very much ~more than just friends~ and recent reports have confirmed they are indeed giving their relationship another shot.

5. Kim and Kourtney Kardashian's physical fight.

Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images

For the last few years, Kim, Kourtney and Khloé have been locked in a bitter feud, but no one could have predicted it climaxing with the physical fight that ended up unfolding earlier this year.

For anyone who hasn't been following closely, tension between the sisters began simmering in 2017 when Kourtney started seeing a new therapist who encouraged her to reevaluate her life and priorities.


As a result, she decided to spend less time filming which bred resentment among Kim and Khloé and led to them forging a much closer bond than before.

This caused numerous arguments and one pivotal episode in 2019 where Kim, Khloé and the rest of the production team confronted Kourtney over her failure to commit to filming.


During the episode, Kim and Khloé claimed Kourtney's refusal to share her life on camera was destroying the show. Kim then threatened to fire her sister before all three of them met with the production team. The producers begged Kourtney to share more of her personal life, or at the very least “be present” when filming. She refused and left the room.

And it was Kourtney's perceived lack of work ethic that led to their fight. After Kim made a comment about her and Khloé working harder than the rest of their sisters, Kourtney went off.


"You act like I don't do shit," she told Kim. "You have this narrative in your mind. I will literally fuck you up if you mention it again. Literally, shut the fuck up! Change the narrative in your mind! I work my fucking ass off."


"If I didn't want to work my ass off, and I did want to be a stay-at-home mom, that's fucking fine, you literal fucking cunt," she continued to yell.


And after she lunged at Kim...


There was punching...






And the whole thing ended with Kim slapping Kourtney in the face twice.


Not only did the fight shock viewers who had never seen the sisters be so violent towards one another, but everyone involved in the show was so disturbed that production was completely shut down for a week.

The Jimmy Kimmel Show

"When my mom saw the clip, she cried," Kim said during an appearance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show. "She was like, 'Who are you guys? What is going on?' Kourtney and I are obviously fine now, but we shut down production for a week after that."

"I think everyone was really shook for a minute," she added. "We were like, 'This isn't our type of show, what's happening?' We want everybody to be comfortable and safe. I don't really ever resort to violence like that."

And, ultimately, the fight led to Kourtney deciding to leave KUWTK for good after years of threatening to quit.

6. But perhaps the most controversial moment of the entire year was the revelation that Keeping Up With the Kardashians will be coming to an end after 14 years in 2021.

For many long term fans of the show, the news didn't come as a huge surprise.


Over recent years, the family had come to deprioritise KUWTK, allowing storylines to break and unfold in the media before reaching our screens. As a result, ratings fell into steep decline in 2015, and the increasingly fractured relationship between the sisters — once the show's main appeal — gave viewers even less of an incentive to tune in.

But the decision to end the show entirely is incredibly controversial since it's acted as the bedrock of their empire for 13 years.

Noel Vasquez / Getty Images

Without the show uniting the family as a brand and allowing them control over their public image, the Kardashians move into unchartered territory where their primary source of fame and income hinges on the unpredictable world of social media. It's unclear how culturally influential they'll remain without KUWTK as the foundation of their fame.

But whatever happens, it's safe to say that 2021 will be an interesting year for the first family of Calabasas...

This story is part of our series on the year 2020. To read more, click here.