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For the past 14 seasons of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, we’ve watched sisters Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, and Kylie bicker about everything from Bentleys to birthday parties. But no comment was as cutting as the one heard in Sunday night’s season 15 premiere. That’s because Kim, the middle sister and raison d’etre for the entire Kardashian empire, said the meanest thing you could possibly say to a Kardashian to her sister Kourtney.
During an argument over scheduling the family Christmas card photo shoot, Kim and Kourtney butted heads over the fact that Kourtney wanted to be able to leave the shoot at 4 pm so she could get home in time to put her kids to bed. Kim accused Kourtney of being “entitled” because even though Kourtney doesn’t run a business outside of being on the show, and even though Kim had important meetings for KKW Beauty that day, Kourtney was being the difficult one.
After Kourtney left the room, Kim continued venting to Khloe and Kris, and among a cavalcade of curse words, she dropped this about her sister Kourtney: “She’s the least exciting to look at.”
To a person whose career is built on being professionally exciting to look at, these are harsh words. But to a Kardashian, whose every move is essentially a jostle between members for the top spot of “most exciting to look at at this precise moment in time,” they’re especially cutting — not just for the career implications but for one’s value in the family.
The argument also magnified the tensions between the only two Kardashian sisters who, at the time, had children. While the episode aired last night, Kourtney defended herself in a tweet:
We all have our own priorities. Mine is being a mother. #KUWTK— Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) August 6, 2018
To which Kim replied:
And mine is not? The shoot was with our kids!!!!! My #1 priority is being a mother as well and I can work too, so can you! https://t.co/3bApFwwjcr— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 6, 2018
Kourtney then responded:
And i do. But i wasn’t wanting MORE work, i already felt spread thin. Being a good mother also has different meaning to each of us. You’re an amazing mother, I’m not taking that away from you. https://t.co/ZMpEo5nlwL— Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) August 6, 2018
The tweets imply that the argument hasn’t subsided much in the more than half year since the episode was filmed, and now that Khloé and Kylie have children of their own, it likely won’t be the last time the Kardashians and their individual identities as mothers will be a topic of debate.
In response, fans of Kourtney flooded Kim’s Instagram with comments like, “You’re the least interesting to look at,” writing that Kourtney, not Kim, is the family’s best role model.
It’s far from the only thing Kim has sparked outrage for recently. Last week, she caused a backlash for an Instagram video in which her sisters tell her she looks anorexic, to which she replied, “Thank you.” And two months prior, she promoted appetite-suppressing lollipops on Instagram, which angered many who were concerned about Kardashian’s legions of young, impressionable followers.
The Kardashians’ obsession with their looks isn’t anything new — it’s what’s made them one of America’s most famous families. While most of the time, this only makes them the target of easy jokes (that they themselves are often in on), at others it can get them into trouble. The remark on last night’s episode was so brutal because instead of outsiders commenting on the Kardashians’ appearances, it weaponized their own self-awareness — and relative value — against one another, making business deeply personal.