Even “self-made” billionaires need to be held accountable when they neglect to behave with common decency. Yep, we’re talking about Kylie Jenner, who posted a photo of herself parked in an accessible parking spot meant for people with disabilities. The image shows a blatant disregard for the VERY clear signage.


Whether she parked there for a single moment to “get a picture” (was the picture really that necessary? Really?) or for a prolonged period of time makes no difference. Seriously. These spots are hard to come by, and they’re reserved for people who actually need them. Just don’t park there if you don’t have a disability!

To make matters worse, Kylie is posing with her boyfriend, Travis Scott. This means that there are literally two sets of eyeballs on the scene — and two sets of eyeballs chose to ignore the parking signage. Not okay! Although this isn’t a violent crime or an act of hate, it is a message to all of her fans that the lives of those living with a disability should be ignored. Made invisible. Denied the basic right of accessible parking.

It may seem like an overstatement, but these actions communicate a message. And that message reverberates.

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Seriously, this was just blatantly uncool.

With so much discussion, transparency, and advocacy around disability rights going on right now, you’d have to live under a rock — or perhaps under a stack of dollar bills — to not notice and to not be more thoughtful.

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It’s almost as if celebrities can totally ignore the law (yes, LAWS) around street signs, lights, and parking lot notices. Oh, wait.

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Of course, people all over the internet are blasting her for her actions.

And while we don’t condone a pile-on culture of shame and blame, we think it’s imperative that people do speak out. Speaking out when things like this happen is important. It helps to encourage understanding and empathy for folks with a disability. And it’s the least we can do.

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And as a celebrity with serious influence (see: the Kylie lip injections effect) — with millions and millions of eyes on her daily content — she has a responsibility to be ethical, accountable for her messaging, and quick to correct the issue. Which, as of today, she has not yet. 

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But why does this all really matter?

Every single day, people with various disabilities rely on these spots so that they can be close to exits and entrances.

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The Ruderman Family Foundation condemned the photo, saying, “Accessible parking is meant for people with disabilities who need it.”

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The Foundation went on to say, “As a role model to many, this is an opportunity for Kylie Jenner to use her celebrity status to help society understand why accessible parking is a basic right for people with disabilities to be included in daily life.”

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But Kylie has a long legacy of ignoring basic ethics in her own choices. In 2015, for example, she posed in a wheelchair on the cover of Interview Magazine.

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Obviously, this is absolutely on the editors of the magazine as well.

However, this glamorization and reductionist attitude toward disability does not exactly work. Kylie said she did it to illustrate how “limited” she felt by fame.

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However, the “limits” of fame are not the same as living with a disability.

You can’t just use another person’s life as a way of metaphorically explaining your own.

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There’s a real difference between people who use a wheelchair and people who are famous.

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As one magazine, Feminists With Disabilities, put it, Kylie was doing something called “crip drag….when a character has a disability, but the actor playing that character doesn’t have whatever disability they are portraying.”

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Wheelchairs aren’t there as accessories or sexy props.

They’re there to give people a quality of life and mobility.

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Around this time Interview Magazine did release a statement: They wanted to”create a powerful set of pictures that get people thinking about image and creative expression, including the set with the wheelchair.”

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Then get a person who actually uses a wheelchair for your cover story. No?

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In the end, people need to be held accountable for their choices, including the rich and famous.


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