Kylie Jenner has broken her social media silence since she was criticized for her “insincere” response to the Astroworld tragedy.
Kylie is the partner of Travis Scott, who produced and headlined the Astroworld Festival in Houston, where 10 concertgoers were killed and hundreds of others were injured in a crowd surge on Nov. 5.
After over two weeks of radio silence, Kylie resurfaced on Instagram yesterday to wish a happy birthday to her friend Hailey Bieber.
“Happy birthday @HaileyBieber,” she wrote beneath an image of her 3-year-old daughter, Stormi, in a pool with Hailey. “You are such a beautiful person inside and out. We love you lots.”
And while a birthday tribute might not seem particularly noteworthy, this Instagram story marks Kylie’s return to social media after she was heavily criticized in the wake of the Astroworld tragedy.
If you’re wondering how Kylie is involved in the Astroworld incident, here’s a brief explanation.
Kylie began dating Travis in 2017. They split in October 2019 before seemingly reuniting earlier this year.
Kylie and Travis share a daughter, Stormi, and they are currently expecting their second child together, due early next year.
Kylie has long been a huge supporter of Travis’s music career, and so, unsurprisingly, she was present at the first night of this year's Astroworld Festival on Nov. 5.
As you may be aware, Travis is facing a lot of backlash in the wake of the tragedy. The musician has now been named in hundreds of lawsuits from Astroworld attendees, including a $750 million legal complaint filed on behalf of 125 victims, including the family of one man who died at the festival.
In the weeks since the incident took place, Travis has been accused of “negligence” and “encouragement of violence” in several lawsuits. However, sources close to the rapper maintain that he didn’t realize the severity of what was happening in the crowd as he continued to perform for a reported 37 minutes after the show was declared a mass casualty incident.
He has since announced that he intends to cover the costs of the funerals for those who died at the show as well as therapy for survivors.
And it’s not just Travis who is facing backlash for their actions on the night of the incident.
Like several others in the rapper’s inner circle, Kylie found herself on the receiving end of a lot of criticism.
As previously mentioned, Kylie attended the festival. Based on footage captured by fans, she appeared to be safely situated at the rear of the VIP section with Stormi and sister Kendall Jenner.
Both Jenner sisters faced fallout in the days after the festival for leaving up Instagram stories of Travis’s performance even after news of the mass casualties emerged.
In fact, one video shared by Kylie showed an ambulance in the crowd. It remained on her account for several hours after the news broke of the fatalities before it was finally deleted.
Kylie alluded to this backlash in a statement she released two days after the incident on Nov. 7., in which she insisted that she and Travis were not aware of the fatalities until hours after the show.
“Travis and I are broken and devastated,” she began. “My thoughts and prayers are with all who lost their lives, were injured or affected in anyway by yesterday's events. And also for Travis who I know cares deeply for his fans and the Houston community.”
“I want to make it clear we weren't aware of any fatalities until the news came out after the show and in no world would have continued filming or performing,” the billionaire emphasized.
The statement concluded, “I am sending my deepest condolences to all the families during this difficult time and will be praying for the healing of everyone who has been impacted.”
Just one day earlier on Nov. 6, Travis said in a statement of his own that he was “absolutely devastated” and pledged his commitment to “heal and support the families in need.”
And for a number of reasons, fans branded their responses as “tone deaf.”
Some have suggested that Kylie’s statement is contradicted by her videos of the emergency vehicles, as well as footage from fans in which Travis appears to acknowledge that people in the crowd are receiving medical treatment.
Others felt that the statements from Kylie and Travis were “insincere” and “disrespectful” and called on the couple to issue apologies and directly reference the 10 people who were killed.
Last week, W Magazine revealed that it decided not to promote an upcoming issue featuring the couple on the cover.
Just days after Nike announced its decision to postpone the release of its most recent sneaker collaboration with Travis, a representative for W Magazine confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the outlet will not post online its cover with the couple — which was shot and printed before the Astroworld tragedy.
“The issue was photographed and printed prior to the tragic events in Houston,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “W will not be posting the cover.”
This came after Kylie was also criticized for her clothing brand’s decision to go ahead with promotion in the days after the tragedy.
On Nov. 17, the Instagram account for Kylie and Kendall’s joint clothing brand, Kendall + Kylie, shared a video announcing its launch in the United Arab Emirates. Then fans bombarded the post with comments, outraged that the brand was continuing to promote the clothing line so soon after the tragic events took place.
With this in mind, fans are now speculating that Kylie might have made the call to delay the release of her annual holiday cosmetics collection.
Kylie made her billion-dollar fortune as the founder of Kylie Cosmetics, which is known for its themed collections, typically released in celebration of holidays like Christmas and Halloween, as well as Kylie’s birthday.
As the festive season approaches, fans of the cosmetics brand have noticed that Kylie hasn't yet announced the holiday collection, perhaps her most highly anticipated drop of the year.
In previous years, Kylie has unveiled teasers for the holiday collection in early to mid-November, with last year’s edition announced on Nov. 12. What’s more, the Kylie Cosmetics Instagram account has not promoted any new products since the Astroworld tragedy.
However, a spokesperson for the beauty mogul has informed BuzzFeed News that the reports claiming she has delayed the release of this year’s collection to prevent further backlash are untrue.
Interestingly, one person on Reddit shared a photograph of some Kylie Cosmetics makeup palettes on display in a store, which appear to be branded in Christmas packaging.
The seemingly new holiday products spotted in stores have led fans to theorize that perhaps Kylie is still planning to release the holiday collection but in order to prevent public outrage, she has decided against promoting it online like she usually would. A spokesperson for Kylie did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment on this detail.