It’s no secret that Bethenny Frankel has been one of the Kardashian family’s harshest critics.
A lot of the time, it’s just one of her ways of getting attention. She makes loud, strongly worded statements about hot-button topics or famous people and sees what sticks.
Bethenny has also made a few salient points about the family from time to time. But praise has been rare.
So why is she now not only defending the family, but saying that they should continue to rake in ridiculous sums of reality TV pay?
You might not think of Bethenny Frankel and the Kardashians as being too similar, despite the intersection of business and reality TV.
And you almost certainly don’t associate either of them with the historic writer’s guild and screen actor’s guild strikes. Both guilds have not gone on strike together like this since the 1960s.
But, oddly enough, all of these stories intersect. Even though, historically, Bethenny has had a lot of unkind things to say about the Kardashians and their products.
Bethenny has been explaining to her fans and followers why residuals are so important for entertainers.
That is a key issue of the strike for writers and for actors. But because a lot of people do not understand how entertainment behemoths have used streaming to cheat actors and writers out of this, it warranted explaining.
In response, some fans more or less baited Bethenny — asking her if some stars, like the Kardashians, are making enough already. (Because yes, some reality stars are also talking about wanting better deals — and residuals)
“To the question if the Kardashians should keep earning residuals even though they’re billionaires,” Bethenny addressed her followers on her Instagram Story.
“Yeah, you don’t get to count their money,” she answered. “It’s supply and demand.”
Very reasonably, Bethenny went on: “If people wanna buy their product they should still get paid.”
“If you keep buying lip gloss should Kylie still get paid?” Bethenny asked rhetorically. “If you keep buying shapewear should Kim get paid?”
She explained: “So if you keep watching their content, yeah, they should still get paid to the end of time.”
Bethenny summarized: “That’s business ladies and gentlemen.”
“You may not like it,” Bethenny allowed.
“You may not like if Tom Cruise makes $50M a movie,” she went on. “But you go to see the movie.” Well, some people do.
“It’s supply and demand,” Bethenny continued. “It’s very basic business.”
For years, Bethenny has not hesitated to call out the Kardashian family — especially Kim, and sometimes Kylie.
She has criticized them for being phony. She has put them on blast for setting unrealistic beauty standards, especially when editing their photos (Khloe).
And Bethenny has gotten even more personal — calling out their rampant narcissism. Under most circumstances, she is the last person who would defend them.
This is, as she says, basic economics. A bunch of people pool time, talent, and resources to create a product. All of those people should then reap their fair and just rewards.
But for over a decade, massive companies have used loopholes in outdated contracts to squeeze profit out of the people who actually make TV. From writers to actors (and beyond), they use old “web series” jargon to underpay people on a technicality.
The strike is about correcting that injustice. Right now, the vast majority of actors — more than 80% — make less from acting than your average teacher.
So what does this have to do with reality TV? Well, for the Kardashians, it’s basically a technicality.
If people keep watching their content, streamers like Hulu should pay them for anything that broadcast TV would.
But we all know that there are massively profitable reality TV series that pay their stars next to nothing. One of 90 Day Fiance‘s biggest stars once put out a GoFundMe to raise $5,000 to tow her trailer home so that she wouldn’t lose it. So yeah … this applies to reality TV, too.