Rob Kardashian's slut-shaming Instagram war on Blac Chyna.

A Novice’s Guide to the Rob Kardashian–Blac Chyna Saga: Revenge Porn, Plastic Surgery, and Despair

A Novice’s Guide to the Rob Kardashian–Blac Chyna Saga: Revenge Porn, Plastic Surgery, and Despair

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 5 2017 8:20 PM

A Novice’s Guide to the Rob Kardashian–Blac Chyna Saga: Revenge Porn, Plastic Surgery, and Despair

Before the fall: Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian on May 10, 2016, in Hollywood, California.

Greg Doherty/Getty Images

Much like Kimmy Schmidt, even those of us who don’t keep up with the Kardashians on purpose end up knowing a fair bit about their komings and goings. (“I’ve never seen their show,” says Season 2 Kimmy. “I just know Kim is a butt star and married a rapper who hates college and Kourtney finally ended her destructive relationship with Scott …”) If you’re more in the “vaguely aware” of the Kardashians camp than the “follows with obsessive rigor” one, days like Wednesday can be hard. You know that something is going on with the Kardashians, and being a God-fearing but still nosy person, you want to know what it is. But trying to make sense of it all can be like trying to start the Song of Ice and Fire series on Book 5: Even if you know the general players, you’re missing years of nuance and backstory that inform their actions.

Never fear, for I have consulted Slate’s pool of the Kardashian-literate to brief me on these latest happenings and offer the following FAQ.


Which Kardashians are involved in today’s events?

Rob Kardashian, younger brother to Kim, Kourtney, and Khloe, and son of Kris and the late Robert Kardashian Sr. (of O.J. Simpson defense team fame); and Blac Chyna, Rob’s on-and-off-again fiancée and the mother of their infant daughter, Dream.

Who did what to who and where?

Around late morning Wednesday, West Coast time, Rob started posting pictures of and messages about Chyna on his Instagram account. His posts included what he claimed were nude photos of his former partner, apparently posted without her consent. But he also, in more than 10 posts, some of which were telltale Notes App screenshots, accused her of cheating on him with several different people, one of whom was now trying to extort him; taking drugs; being a bad mother; having had $100,000 worth of plastic surgery (an anniversary gift from him in happier times); and generally put her on blast.


What precipitated this outburst?

According to Rob, Chyna sent Rob a video of her kissing another man on the Fourth of July, shortly after she had had sex with Rob. Understandably, this upset Rob.

What is the backstory on Rob and Chyna?

Their relationship has been troubled for a while. Dating Chyna was initially a source of tension among Rob’s family members. (Chyna’s previous beau Tyga, with whom she had her first child, had left her for one of Rob’s younger sisters, Kylie Jenner.) When the two got engaged and Chyna got pregnant, they got their own reality series, Rob & Chyna, the first season of which became something of a sad spectacle, airing what many viewers saw as Rob’s undiagnosed mental health issues. In the months after filming ended, Rob and Chyna went through several cycles of breakups, makeups, and social media wars. A second season is reportedly still in the works.


Did Chyna respond to Rob’s Instagram posts?

Chyna posted on Snapchat after Rob’s Instagram spree, accusing Rob of domestic violence: “Rob u did all this but u beat me up and try act it never happen!!!!! U put hand on me I swear on god!!!! On my kids but I’m supposed to be quiet because you’re a Kardashian. The light will come to the light.”

Is Rob still going?

His Instagram account got shut down, so he switched over to Twitter midafternoon, where he continued to enumerate Chyna’s sins against him.

If Rob posted photos of Chyna without her permission, isn’t that illegal?

Why yes, it is. California, where Rob and Chyna reside, has revenge porn laws on the books that could subject Rob to up to six months of jail time.

Chyna liked one of the posts—how will that affect things?

That shouldn’t have an impact on Chyna’s case, should she pursue one. A lawyer told the New York Daily News, “If the photos were posted without her consent then—no—her ‘liking’ them absolutely does not diminish the fact that he violated her sexual privacy and has opened himself up to punishment in civil and/or criminal courts. … Liking should not be taken literally—she’s just communicating to him hey, I see what you did there, you a-hole." So yes, a celebrity criminal case can come down to the semiotics of Instagram likes—that’s the world we now live in.