Kim Kardashian and Kanye West did not breakup. Elle magazine sent “Kimye” fans into a tizzy with a false tweet on Thursday, claiming the couple was splitting. The tweet redirected followers to a voter registration page in partnership with Rock The Vote.
Journalist Yashar Ali slammed the magazine for using click bait. “When a random tweeter did this it was clever but now you’re just stealing their tweet and also spreading fake news,” Ali wrote in response.
One Twitter user wrote, “This is trash nonsense’! Elle Magazine TORCHED for this ‘sick’ voter registration stunt.”
Another user called the campaign sexist, “Hot tip: Women are fully capable of being self-actualized people who can be interested in pop culture news AND the current political landscape, @ELLEmagazine. This is trash, and so is my newly-canceled subscription.”
Elle used a less overtly false post on Instagram to attract voter registrants, captioning a photo of the couple: “OMG THIS #KIMKARDASHIAN AND #KANYEWEST NEWS!!! It’s happening and you’ll never guess how it all went down.”
Responses to the Instagram post ranged from “well played” to “ya got me.”
A spokeswoman for vote.org told the Post in a statement that more than 100,000 people under 30 have registered to vote “since the vote rolling memes started.
“While we can’t suggest they caused all the registrations, we can say all of the cultural conversations surrounding voting certainly correlate to spikes in young voters engagement,” she said.
The only problem, of course, is that Kimye is still going strong, and the juicy headline was only meant to entice people to click on a link for voter registration — a form of celebrity Rickrolling, as noted in the Washington Post.
While an earlier faux tweet about the end of the Kardashian-West marriage and one claiming to offer details about the reason for Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s breakup (both of which linked to a voter registration site) went over well, the Elle effort fell flat for many. (CNN anchor Chris Cillizza called the ploy “brilliant,” but that was an unpopular opinion.) Notably, the earlier messages had come from individuals, not news organizations.
People were insulted, they commented, that Elle thought readers wouldn’t have been interested in a straightforward headline about registering to vote. They also condemned the publication for giving people a reason to distrust the media, at a time when many, including President Trump, routinely paint it as the enemy.