Last week, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter North West went viral for holding up a “STOP” sign at the paparazzi.
The 9-year-old, who was seated front row at the Jean Paul Gaultier fall/winter fashion show with her mom and Anna Wintour, displayed the handwritten message as the photographers continuously snapped pictures of her.
A clip of the now-viral moment was quickly shared by Kim herself, who lightheartedly noted that North had “had it with the people taking pictures of her.”
“For anyone who knows North knows how funny she finds this video! North I guess had it with the people taking pictures of her so she wrote on her invite STOP and held it up and wanted them to just focus on the show,” Kim wrote.
But in spite of her nonchalant reaction, Kim’s tweet was largely met with criticism from fans, as several people questioned why the reality star was making light of her daughter’s discomfort.
“If you know she don’t like the pics then why bring her to the FRONT ROW???” one person wrote.
“If your daughter doesn’t want her picture taken then don’t take her to sit front rows at a fashion show,” another echoed.
Before long, the conversation around North’s discomfort evolved even further, with several users noting how days prior to the “STOP” sign moment, the 9-year-old had actually confronted the paps herself to ask why they always film her and her family.
North and her friend Ryan Romulus, daughter of Kim’s BFF Tracy Romulus, were faced with a swarm of paps in Paris as they walked ahead of Kim and Cici Bussey, the Kardashians’ cousin.
“Why do you have to wait for us all the time?” North asked the photographers, who continued to snap a ton of pictures as one yelled back: “Because you’re so famous. We love you, North!”
Not only did fans label the paparazzo’s comments as “creepy” and “weird,” but several users questioned why Kim had let North walk in the front of the group when she so evidently appeared uncomfortable.
And Kim’s apparent willingness to push North “into the spotlight” is something that fans continued to discuss when the mogul shared the video of the 9-year-old’s handwritten “STOP” sign.
“It isn’t appropriate for adult men to be telling little girl that they follow her because they love her. She clearly hates being photographed by them and that she can’t escape them- we know the Karjenners know how to disappear when they want so... shield your daughter,” one user wrote.
But sadly, as several Twitter users pointed out, North’s recent viral moment is only the latest example of her expressing her discomfort at the paparazzi, as the young child actually has a pretty long history of calling them out.
Firstly, and perhaps most memorably, North was filmed yelling “No pictures!” to a bunch of photographers back in 2015, when she was just 2 years old.
The paps had been waiting outside North’s ballet class to snap several photos of her. “I said no pictures,” the little girl said aloud, which was ironically met with the men instantly asking each other: “Did you get that?”
And what really disturbed fans about this was the fact that neither Kim nor Kanye were present at the time, with North having only been accompanied by a nanny.
“She's not a celebrity.. Her parents signed up for this life, but she didn't. Leave that little girl alone!!” one person commented under a clip of the exchange. “Theres something really messed up about a bunch of grown men, hanging outside a kid ballet school, to take pictures of a 2 year old,” another wrote.
The following year, Kim posted a video on Instagram in which she appeared to ask North — who was seemingly hiding under a huge fur coat — why she didn’t want to be photographed or recorded.
“Why don’t you want,” Kim asked before being cut off by North, who said: “No! No pictures.” “Why?” Kim asked again as she continued to film the little girl.
And North’s attitude toward her family’s spotlight-centered lifestyle was also displayed during an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians that aired roughly three years later.
After being swarmed by paparazzi during a trip to New York, a very confused North asked her mom: “Why are there lots of people every day taking pictures of us?”
In response, Kim attempted to explain the reasoning behind their family’s level of fame as she told the little girl: “Well, to get very technical — my name is Kim Kardashian. And Daddy is Kanye West. And Daddy is a singer. Performer. Artiste. And Mommy has so many talents I can’t even begin to name them.”
In fact, the Skims founder wound up explaining that she and her elder sister, Kourtney Kardashian, had had conversations with their children about their family’s unique lifestyle and unusual levels of fame.
“Kourtney and I have sat our kids down and had little conversations with them, and as they get older we’ll continue to have that conversation and just explain it to them,” Kim said during an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2019.
Interestingly, two of Kourtney’s kids, Mason and Reign Disick, have also expressed levels of discomfort at their unavoidable fame in recent years.
Just a few months ago, Reign — who is 7 years old — was filmed telling paps to “give us a break” as he and his family attempted to walk through the swarms of photographers who descended on Portofino, Italy, around Kourtney's wedding. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Mason has retreated from the public eye almost entirely, and rarely even appears on his family’s social media pages.
Given that the KarJenner kids have been exposed to ridiculously high levels of publicity from the moment they were born, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some of them are seemingly growing tired of the constant attention.
And for this reason, several users have expressed their concern over North being so present in the public eye, especially recently. In fact, many fans ended up comparing how various other celebrities tend to shelter their kids from the limelight when they’ve displayed signs of discomfort.
“I remember Sarah Michelle Gellar promptly telling paparazzi off from photographing her and her kids when one of them showed discomfort. That's what a parent does when they have their child's best interest in mind,” one person wrote, referring to the actor’s renowned stance against photographing children.
Sarah, who has two children, previously opened up about her dislike for the paparazzi and concerns for her kids’ safety. “If everybody gets together, we can make a difference. My poor daughter won't take a family picture because she's afraid of cameras because every time she goes to ballet or she goes to school, someone sticks a camera in her face. It is horrifying,” she said.
Another Twitter user pointed out that Beyoncé’s children — 10-year-old Blue Ivy, and 5-year-old twins Sir and Rumi — are rarely seen by the public. In fact, Blue Ivy had retreated so far from the spotlight that fans were totally shocked to see how much she’d grown when photos of her surfaced on her birthday earlier this year.
“[Let’s] be honest plenty of celebs have kids that you barely even see pics of, like Beyoncé’s twins are rarely captured and I know they get out the house, but their parents find ways to protect them,” they wrote.
Other users noted that Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, and Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, are just two examples of celebrity couples who are vehemently against photographing and publicizing their children.
“I don’t think there’s a single picture of any of those kids faces. Maybe one or two,” one person wrote of their respective kids.
Back in 2017, Ashton famously urged media outlets not to circulate pictures of his and Mila’s two children, tweeting: “l continue to kindly ask, Please don't post/publish photos of our kids. They haven't chosen life in the public eye.”
Meanwhile, Kristen once confronted paps and asked them to delete all photos taken of her and Dax’s two daughters. “Do you realize how much you are putting my kids at risk by photographing them at their school?” she asked the photographer.
And so, with several other celebrities proving it’s possible to shelter their kids from the public eye if need be, many fans have wondered why the KarJenners — namely Kim — aren’t quite on board yet, especially in light of North’s long-running displays of discomfort.