Celebrity sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner were called “disrespectful” and “disgusting” after they unveiled a new line of T-shirts featuring their faces superimposed over images of musical acts including Notorious BIG and Tupac Shakur.
Voletta Wallace, Notorious BIG’s mother, criticized the Jenners in an Instagram post while a lawyer for the rapper’s estate threatened legal action should the “vintage” shirts, which were on sale for $125 each, continued to be sold on their website. In the post Wallace also claimed that they had not been contacted with a request to use his image.
“I am not sure who told @kyliejenner and @kendalljenner that they had the right to do this,” Wallace’s post read. “The disrespect of these girls to not even reach out to me or anyone connected to the estate baffles me. I have no idea why they feel they can exploit the deaths of 2pac and my son Christopher to sell a T-shirt. This is disrespectful, disgusting, and exploitation at its worst!!!”
Sharon Osbourne also criticized the T-shirts, tweeting: “Girls, you haven’t earned the right to put your face with musical icons. Stick to what you know … lip gloss.”
It is not the first time a Jenner sister has found herself embroiled in controversy this year. Kendall, 21, caused a stir after appearing in a Pepsi advertisement released in April that was panned for its trivialization of protests and activism. In the advertisement, Jenner can be seen handing a Pepsi to a police officer at a protest march and subsequently calming tensions between the activists and law enforcement. The two-minute spot was widely derided and Pepsi was forced to pull the advertisement.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize,” said the company’s spokesperson in a statement released in April. “We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
Jenner also came under fire when she appeared last year in a Marc Jacobs fashion show outfitted in dreadlocks. The designer defended the choice, which was largely seen as an inappropriate co-opting of a hairstyle rich with cultural and ethnic history.
This latest scandal has earned the sister’s widespread criticism on social media, as accusations of cultural appropriation and insensitivity mounted throughout the day on Thursday until they pulled the T-shirts from their website. The line also included images of the sisters plastered on classic-rock logos of bands such as Pink Floyd, Metallica, and The Doors.
Julian K Petty, the lawyer for Notorious BIG’s estate, sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Jenner’s on Thursday, demanding the pair stop selling the shirts by 5pm on Friday. “This is misappropriation at its finest,” Petty told TMZ. “I’m curious to hear the justification. I’m even more curious to hear the proposed resolution.”