Elle magazine is facing backlash for posting a fake headline about Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West in a misguided effort to get out the vote for the midterm elections.
The magazine tweeted, "Kim Kardashian and Kanye West" are splitting up, but the link provided for the story redirects to a page encouraging readers to vote for women in the midterm elections.
Many criticized the stunt as potentially harmful in a moment when the notion of "fake news" has polarized the country. Particularly troubling in this context is the use of a fake headline in connection with mobilizing the readership to vote. The tweet, possibly intended as a cheeky comment on readers' fascination with the celebrity news cycle, winds up doing more harm than good to the timely and important issue of voting in this year's midterm elections.
Twitter reacted with near immediate outrage with some pointing out that not only was the headline unethical, but that it was also demeaning to Elle's largely female readership. The implication that the people who read Elle need to be "tricked" into caring about politics.
this is a link to a voter registration page, which implies that elle readers aren't interested in voting unless they're being tricked into it with fake celeb breakup news, which seems...super insulting to elle readers, actually?— Ariel Edwards-Levy (@aedwardslevy) October 18, 2018
The tweet comes after multiple viral tweets in which Twitter users posting their own fake reactions to celebrity news with links that direct to a voter registration page. But there is a big difference between a private citizen posting on their personal social media page and a large well-respected publication intentionally misleading readers.
With just three weeks until the midterm elections, here is a guide on everything you need to know about registering to vote and voting on Election Day, no fake celebrity news needed.