Kanye & Kim or Taylor Swift: Who Won the Feud? Media Critics Weigh In

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS
Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian attend The 57th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Feb. 8, 2015 in Los Angeles. 

Never underestimate the power of Kim Kardashian-West. Whether Kim’s posing nude on the cover of a magazine or scoring countless E! spin-offs with her family, she’s ensconced in our pop culture pantheon as a character who continues to expand her empire with each controversial move.

Sunday night (July 17) was no different when she broke the Internet for a second time, making timelines her playground while schooling all on the art of a well executed clap back. Her target? Pop star Taylor Swift, who she and her husband, Kanye West, have a complicated relationship with. Kim fanned the flame in her July GQ cover story, saying Swift "approved" the infamous line -- "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous" on West’s “Famous.” However, Swift denied approving the song and specified she was not made aware of the "I made that bitch famous line," which she deemed offensive and derogatory. 

Kim Kardashian Says Taylor Swift Approved Kanye West's 'Famous' Line, Swift Reps Say That Is 'Incorrect'

But the long-standing feud took a surprising turn when Kim sent a tweet to her 46.7 million followers announcing that it was National Snake Day. "They have holidays for everybody, I mean everything these days!," she wrote before tweeting "do u guys follow me on snap chat? U really should ;-)" She then strategically posted a series of videos of West speaking on the phone to Swift, who verbally signs off on the "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex" line, referring to it as “a compliment kind of.” She even offered, "If people ask me about it, I’ll tell them, ‘Oh, he called me beforehand to tell me about it.’”

Of course, Swift was unhappy with Kim’s big reveal and responded with an explanation that Kanye never told her he was going to refer to her as a bitch, nor did he play the song for her to hear as promised. "Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination," she said via social media. "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."

Although Snapchat is temporary, the video gained much traction across the 'net, becoming etched in our memories like Kim’s backside on the cover of Paper magazine. Billboard asked several media experts to weigh in on the trending topic to decide whether Swift or Kimye won the feud.

Perez Hilton, editor-in-chief, PerezHilton.com:

"The real winner in this is Kim Kardashian! Her currency only goes up the more people talk about her. And, not only did she get people talking - but she also got a bunch of new Snapchat followers! This hurts Taylor Swift but only in the now. Her likability has taken a hit and, more troubling, so has her credibility. But, all will be forgotten as soon as she releases her next hit album. And she will!"

Zach Frydenlund, news editor, Complex:

“My overall take on the Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian battle is that it makes for good entertainment. When looking at who a winner is in the situation, I honestly don't know. It would be easy to say Kim and Kanye because the way they rolled out the audio of the phone call was so flawless and epic. And of course, Taylor looks bad because of the way she handled this entire thing but in a certain way I do feel for her over the whole "Bitch" part of the issue. If she indeed never knew that Kanye was calling her a "bitch" on the song then I do think that she has a right to be upset. But still, I'm here for the drama so if I had to pick a winner I would say that it's hard to pick against the Kardashians when it comes to beef and drama. They're just built for this.”

Never underestimate the power of Kim Kardashian-West. Whether Kim’s posing nude on the cover of a magazine or scoring countless E! spin-offs with her family, she’s ensconced in our pop culture pantheon as a character who continues to expand her empire with each controversial move.

Sunday night (July 17) was no different when she broke the Internet for a second time, making timelines her playground while schooling all on the art of a well executed clap back. Her target? Pop star Taylor Swift, who she and her husband, Kanye West, have a complicated relationship with. Kim fanned the flame in her July GQ cover story, saying Swift "approved" the infamous line -- "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous" on West’s “Famous.” However, Swift denied approving the song and specified she was not made aware of the "I made that bitch famous line," which she deemed offensive and derogatory. 

Kim Kardashian Says Taylor Swift Approved Kanye West's 'Famous' Line, Swift Reps Say That Is 'Incorrect'

But the long-standing feud took a surprising turn when Kim sent a tweet to her 46.7 million followers announcing that it was National Snake Day. "They have holidays for everybody, I mean everything these days!," she wrote before tweeting "do u guys follow me on snap chat? U really should ;-)" She then strategically posted a series of videos of West speaking on the phone to Swift, who verbally signs off on the "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex" line, referring to it as “a compliment kind of.” She even offered, "If people ask me about it, I’ll tell them, ‘Oh, he called me beforehand to tell me about it.’”

Of course, Swift was unhappy with Kim’s big reveal and responded with an explanation that Kanye never told her he was going to refer to her as a bitch, nor did he play the song for her to hear as promised. "Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination," she said via social media. "I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."

Although Snapchat is temporary, the video gained much traction across the 'net, becoming etched in our memories like Kim’s backside on the cover of Paper magazine. Billboard asked several media experts to weigh in on the trending topic to decide whether Swift or Kimye won the feud.

Perez Hilton, editor-in-chief, PerezHilton.com:

"The real winner in this is Kim Kardashian! Her currency only goes up the more people talk about her. And, not only did she get people talking - but she also got a bunch of new Snapchat followers! This hurts Taylor Swift but only in the now. Her likability has taken a hit and, more troubling, so has her credibility. But, all will be forgotten as soon as she releases her next hit album. And she will!"

Zach Frydenlund, news editor, Complex:

“My overall take on the Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian battle is that it makes for good entertainment. When looking at who a winner is in the situation, I honestly don't know. It would be easy to say Kim and Kanye because the way they rolled out the audio of the phone call was so flawless and epic. And of course, Taylor looks bad because of the way she handled this entire thing but in a certain way I do feel for her over the whole "Bitch" part of the issue. If she indeed never knew that Kanye was calling her a "bitch" on the song then I do think that she has a right to be upset. But still, I'm here for the drama so if I had to pick a winner I would say that it's hard to pick against the Kardashians when it comes to beef and drama. They're just built for this.”

Plus: Inside the Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian Drama

Iyana Robertson, music editor, BET:

"There comes a time in every music diva’s life when the wool is pulled from the public’s eyes, and this time approaches faster than ever thanks to the Internet. Beyoncé had a family dispute in an elevator, and Taylor Swift got caught in a conversation she claims she didn’t have. While roasting the pop star on Twitter was a grand ol' time, it’s more important to note how unorthodox it was for Kanye West to make that call. The outspoken multi-hyphenate often gets flack for leading toasts to the assholes, but found himself in a territory that few rappers have gone before: asking for permission. Yes, Kanye – that Kanye – asked someone for permission. Much can be said about where this all leaves artistic license, but the victim buck stops here. Sorry, Ms. Swift."

Sylvia Obell, pop culture writer, BuzzFeed:

"Kimye takes this win hands down. Their execution was flawless because they remembered an often overlooked virtue of pettiness – patience. Whether it was planned or not, Kimye holding off on sharing that video allowed Taylor and her team to back themselves into a corner that’s really hard to spin their way out of (Exhibit A: that iPhone note screenshot that only addressed the "that bitch" portion of the “Famous”). But like, girl, those who have been paying close attention haven’t forgotten your rep’s statement saying that Ye “did not call for approval” and that you cautioned him about releasing a song with "such a strong misogynistic message." Last I checked, saying you take something as compliment isn’t very cautionary. And her attempt to play victim is a cheap shot because none of this would have happened if she hadn’t lied about being blindsided by all of this in the first place. Kim did not start this, she just finished it. Taylor just needs to take her first big L like a G (the way Beyoncé, Kendrick, and all the other artists who didn’t deserve to lose to her at various award shows did) and move on. People bounce back from bad videos everyday, just look at Kim."

Kanye West & Taylor Swift: A Complete Timeline of Their Relationship

Sowmya Krishnamurthy, freelance music & pop culture contributor:

"Kim Kardashian breaks the Internet again. The reality star jabbed Taylor Swift on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and came with the real haymaker on Snapchat right after the show. Perfectly orchestrated, it was a multi-platform tour de force that only a Kardashian could pull off. Taylor Swift's doe-eyed, good girl facade has been effectively stripped. She lied about her approval of "Famous" and Kanye West has been vindicated. Still, don't count her out yet. The singer is just as masterful and media savvy as Kim and Kanye. As the reigning pop star, Taylor Swift is only one hit song (or one controversy) away from being back on top."

Fred Mwangauhunga, editor-in-chief, Mediatakeout.com:

"Kim clearly won this round. She was fighting on her own turf, Snapchat. And besides, who's better at leaking videos than the Kardashians?"

Stacy-Ann Ellis, assistant editor, Vibe:

"Let me go on record to say this: In all of their time being "famous,” I've never been the biggest fan of the Kardashian/Jenner clan. Something about vapidness turns me off. But in her post-Fearless years (I seriously loved those songs and the humble girl who wrote them), Taylor Swift has worked her way even further under the epidermis than Kanye's shiny new family. 

So it (ashamedly) thrilled me to see Kimberly Kardashian-West pull all the receipts from the bottom of her Balenciaga bag to silence Taylor's nagging, victim-y ways. It made me admire Kim in a whole new way. Not only did she make the journalist in me smile by having all her sources handy, credible and downright undeniable, but she doled out a valuable lesson in patience. She and Kanye knowingly sat on that video of Taylor giving the green light for "Famous" as Taylor pouted out her lower lip and assumed the helpless, bullied role in front of the flashing cameras after The Life of Pablo's release. The salaciously calm read—the footage was shared silently but widely via Kim's Snapchat after an episode of KUWTK—also made me tip my hat to Kimye in regards to their unwavering loyalty to each other. Even when no one believed 'Ye's claims that he received Swift's blessing, Kim stood by her husband's words and stepped out on a limb to clear his name in the pettiest, most public (but perfect) way possible. Salute, Kim."

Michael Lewittes, founder, GossipCop.com

"From a perception standpoint, the win goes to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West because the public seems to believe Taylor Swift lied about ever having a conversation with West. But from a factual standpoint, Swift never denied they spoke. In fact, her rep very carefully told Gossip Cop back in February, “Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.’” There was no denying — or her lying — about talking to West. Swift is the proper winner, while Kardashian is the more popular winner."

Bonnie Fuller, president & editor-in chief, Hollywoodlife.com:

"They’re all winners here -- they’ve each very publicly made their case for their point of view and each has concrete evidence to support their cause. Team Taylor and Team Kimye fans will each stand behind the stars they love. Everyone will sell more music and one day these warriors will kiss and make up...again. Hopefully by making fabulous music together."

Stephanie "Eleven8" Ogbogu, editor, Baller Alert:

“I'm pretty indifferent when it comes to the Kardashians, and I’m just as indifferent when it comes to Taylor Swift. Back in February, as I heard Kanye's "Famous" for the very first time, I couldn't help but to wonder, did Kanye really make Taylor famous?

In my opinion, he didn't. Sure, I've never in life heard a song by Taylor Swift before Kanye rushed the stage during her 2009 VMAs performance, but she won for a reason so I figured someone knew who she was. Since then, however, I've hated how Kanye was treated publicly as Taylor played America's victimized sweetheart.

Now, Kim Kardashian has had enough of Taylor's antics. The faux tears and Grammy speeches become null and void because now the truth is out, Taylor was totally in on it. She even thanked Yeezy for having the decency to reach out to her before dropping the song. Do you know what this means? It means Taylor Swift will forever be known as a liar. It means that Calvin Harris, Katy Perry, and whoever else has beefed with her in the past, were right. It means that every time Taylor Swift pretended to be shocked that she won an award, she really wasn't shocked at all. If I can't trust Taylor Swift, who can I trust?

Now I'm torn because as much as I couldn't stand Kim Kardashian before, Taylor Swift made me like her. For that reason, I'll never forgive Taylor Swift."

Maggie Coughlan, editor, PageSix.com:

“To paraphrase the great Kris Jenner: it's Kim's world, we just live in it. 

Iyana Robertson, music editor, BET:

"There comes a time in every music diva’s life when the wool is pulled from the public’s eyes, and this time approaches faster than ever thanks to the Internet. Beyoncé had a family dispute in an elevator, and Taylor Swift got caught in a conversation she claims she didn’t have. While roasting the pop star on Twitter was a grand ol' time, it’s more important to note how unorthodox it was for Kanye West to make that call. The outspoken multi-hyphenate often gets flack for leading toasts to the assholes, but found himself in a territory that few rappers have gone before: asking for permission. Yes, Kanye – that Kanye – asked someone for permission. Much can be said about where this all leaves artistic license, but the victim buck stops here. Sorry, Ms. Swift."

Sylvia Obell, pop culture writer, BuzzFeed:

"Kimye takes this win hands down. Their execution was flawless because they remembered an often overlooked virtue of pettiness – patience. Whether it was planned or not, Kimye holding off on sharing that video allowed Taylor and her team to back themselves into a corner that’s really hard to spin their way out of (Exhibit A: that iPhone note screenshot that only addressed the "that bitch" portion of the “Famous”). But like, girl, those who have been paying close attention haven’t forgotten your rep’s statement saying that Ye “did not call for approval” and that you cautioned him about releasing a song with "such a strong misogynistic message." Last I checked, saying you take something as compliment isn’t very cautionary. And her attempt to play victim is a cheap shot because none of this would have happened if she hadn’t lied about being blindsided by all of this in the first place. Kim did not start this, she just finished it. Taylor just needs to take her first big L like a G (the way Beyoncé, Kendrick, and all the other artists who didn’t deserve to lose to her at various award shows did) and move on. People bounce back from bad videos everyday, just look at Kim."

Kanye West & Taylor Swift: A Complete Timeline of Their Relationship

Sowmya Krishnamurthy, freelance music & pop culture contributor:

"Kim Kardashian breaks the Internet again. The reality star jabbed Taylor Swift on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and came with the real haymaker on Snapchat right after the show. Perfectly orchestrated, it was a multi-platform tour de force that only a Kardashian could pull off. Taylor Swift's doe-eyed, good girl facade has been effectively stripped. She lied about her approval of "Famous" and Kanye West has been vindicated. Still, don't count her out yet. The singer is just as masterful and media savvy as Kim and Kanye. As the reigning pop star, Taylor Swift is only one hit song (or one controversy) away from being back on top."

Fred Mwangauhunga, editor-in-chief, Mediatakeout.com:

"Kim clearly won this round. She was fighting on her own turf, Snapchat. And besides, who's better at leaking videos than the Kardashians?"

Stacy-Ann Ellis, assistant editor, Vibe:

"Let me go on record to say this: In all of their time being "famous,” I've never been the biggest fan of the Kardashian/Jenner clan. Something about vapidness turns me off. But in her post-Fearless years (I seriously loved those songs and the humble girl who wrote them), Taylor Swift has worked her way even further under the epidermis than Kanye's shiny new family. 

So it (ashamedly) thrilled me to see Kimberly Kardashian-West pull all the receipts from the bottom of her Balenciaga bag to silence Taylor's nagging, victim-y ways. It made me admire Kim in a whole new way. Not only did she make the journalist in me smile by having all her sources handy, credible and downright undeniable, but she doled out a valuable lesson in patience. She and Kanye knowingly sat on that video of Taylor giving the green light for "Famous" as Taylor pouted out her lower lip and assumed the helpless, bullied role in front of the flashing cameras after The Life of Pablo's release. The salaciously calm read—the footage was shared silently but widely via Kim's Snapchat after an episode of KUWTK—also made me tip my hat to Kimye in regards to their unwavering loyalty to each other. Even when no one believed 'Ye's claims that he received Swift's blessing, Kim stood by her husband's words and stepped out on a limb to clear his name in the pettiest, most public (but perfect) way possible. Salute, Kim."

Michael Lewittes, founder, GossipCop.com

"From a perception standpoint, the win goes to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West because the public seems to believe Taylor Swift lied about ever having a conversation with West. But from a factual standpoint, Swift never denied they spoke. In fact, her rep very carefully told Gossip Cop back in February, “Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.’” There was no denying — or her lying — about talking to West. Swift is the proper winner, while Kardashian is the more popular winner."

Bonnie Fuller, president & editor-in chief, Hollywoodlife.com:

"They’re all winners here -- they’ve each very publicly made their case for their point of view and each has concrete evidence to support their cause. Team Taylor and Team Kimye fans will each stand behind the stars they love. Everyone will sell more music and one day these warriors will kiss and make up...again. Hopefully by making fabulous music together."

Stephanie "Eleven8" Ogbogu, editor, Baller Alert:

“I'm pretty indifferent when it comes to the Kardashians, and I’m just as indifferent when it comes to Taylor Swift. Back in February, as I heard Kanye's "Famous" for the very first time, I couldn't help but to wonder, did Kanye really make Taylor famous?

In my opinion, he didn't. Sure, I've never in life heard a song by Taylor Swift before Kanye rushed the stage during her 2009 VMAs performance, but she won for a reason so I figured someone knew who she was. Since then, however, I've hated how Kanye was treated publicly as Taylor played America's victimized sweetheart.

Now, Kim Kardashian has had enough of Taylor's antics. The faux tears and Grammy speeches become null and void because now the truth is out, Taylor was totally in on it. She even thanked Yeezy for having the decency to reach out to her before dropping the song. Do you know what this means? It means Taylor Swift will forever be known as a liar. It means that Calvin Harris, Katy Perry, and whoever else has beefed with her in the past, were right. It means that every time Taylor Swift pretended to be shocked that she won an award, she really wasn't shocked at all. If I can't trust Taylor Swift, who can I trust?

Now I'm torn because as much as I couldn't stand Kim Kardashian before, Taylor Swift made me like her. For that reason, I'll never forgive Taylor Swift."

Maggie Coughlan, editor, PageSix.com:

“To paraphrase the great Kris Jenner: it's Kim's world, we just live in it. 

 

Plus, Charts Center Ep. 9: Inside the Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian Drama