thanK you aIMee: The Kim Kardashian x Taylor Swift Feud Explained

If you’ve felt like you’ve stepped out of a time machine this week, you’re not alone. Taylor Swift’s latest album, “The Tortured Poets Department,” has reignited a feud with Kim Kardashian that started back in 2016. This historical discord began with Kanye West’s song “Famous,” featuring the controversial line: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.” This line has its roots in the infamous 2009 VMAs incident where Kanye interrupted Taylor’s acceptance speech.

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Despite Kanye’s claim of having Taylor’s approval for the lyric, her spokesperson rebuked the assertion, denouncing the song as “misogynistic.” According to Taylor’s representative, “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account,” further clarifying that “She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.’”

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Kim Kardashian later entered the controversy by defending her then-husband. She told GQ that Taylor had “totally approved” the lyric and escalated the feud by releasing a recording of the phone call between Kanye and Taylor. In the infamous clip, Taylor is heard saying, “Yeah. I mean, go with whatever line you think is better. It’s obviously very tongue-in-cheek either way,” and acknowledging, “And I really appreciate you telling me about it, that’s really nice!”

Kim’s release of the footage coincided with “National Snake Day,” giving rise to the term “snake-gate.” The narrative at the time suggested that the clip was proof of Taylor’s dishonesty, leading to significant backlash against her. This backlash forced Taylor to retreat from the public eye. During her hiatus, she embraced the snake imagery, prominently featuring it on her comeback album, “Reputation.”

The full phone call was eventually leaked online in 2020, revealing that Taylor had indeed not approved the specific derogatory part of the lyric. Despite this revelation, Kim seems to have moved past the drama, rarely mentioning it in recent years. However, Taylor has frequently revisited the incident in various forms, such as in her songs, acceptance speeches, a Netflix documentary, and interviews.

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In one notable interview with Time magazine in December, Taylor referred to the incident as a “fully manufactured frame job” that had significant psychological impacts on her, stating, “That took me down psychologically to a place I’ve never been before. I moved to a foreign country. I didn’t leave a rental house for a year. I was afraid to get on phone calls. I pushed away most people in my life because I didn’t trust anyone anymore. I went down really, really hard. I thought that moment of backlash was going to define me negatively for the rest of my life.”

After “snake-gate” seemingly inspired songs on Reputation (2017), Evermore (2020), and Midnights (2022), Taylor appears to be dwelling on the past once again as “The Tortured Poets Department” appears to revisit these past grievances, particularly in the track “thanK you aIMee.” The song narrates the experience with a high-school bully named Aimee, with the capitalized letters in the track title hinting at being inspired by Kim. The lyrics describe a “bronze spray-tanned statue” that caused Taylor “searing pain” and how she coped by building something new amidst adversity: “All that time you were throwin’ punches, I was buildin’ somethin’ / And I can’t forgive the way you made me feel,” she sings.

The chorus echoes Taylor’s continued disdain as she remembers yelling “fuck you, Aimee” into the night sky. The second verse delves deeper into her turmoil, with Taylor singing about how the bully “stomped across [her] grave” and the lasting effects of hurtful words: “Everyone knows that my mother is a saintly woman / But she used to say she wished that you were dead / I pushed each boulder up the hill / Your words are still just ringing in my head.”

This track has led fans and critics alike to speculate about the real-life implications, especially after Kim’s daughter, North West, was seen in a TikTok video singing along to Taylor’s song “Shake It Off,” inadvertently fueling the narrative.

The media and fanbase reactions have been mixed, with many wondering how Kim feels about this new “diss track.” An insider told People magazine that Kim is disinterested in revisiting the past and believes Taylor should move on as well. “She’s over it and thinks Taylor should move on,” the source revealed, adding that Kim “doesn’t get why [Taylor] keeps harping on it.”

Despite the ongoing public interest, Kim has remained relatively unresponsive to the song directly. However, during a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, she briefly commented on her current state, simply stating, “life is good.”

As this saga continues to unfold, both celebrities are navigating their careers and personal narratives in the limelight, with their 2016 feud still casting long shadows over their interactions and artistic expressions.

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