Amateur sleuth Kim Kardashian West broke this whole “Famous” thing wide open over the weekend when she released footage of a phone call between Kanye West and Taylor Swift, in which they discussed some of the song’s lyrics. Swift, who has famously written and performed songs inspired by her fallings-out with other famous people, has contended that she was never consulted by West regarding the lines “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous.” A rep for the 1989 singer even said that she condemned the “Famous” lyrics as having a “strong misogynistic message,” and had therefore never supported their inclusion on the track. But West claims the pop star protests too much, going so far as to credit her for the line.
5th thing I’m not even gone take credit for the idea… it’s actually something Taylor came up with …
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 12, 2016
And while that notion was once beyond the imagination of Swift’s legions of fans, it now looks like she had some say in the approval process. Swift and her reps previously denied that she was contacted for her approval of the song, but the recordings show that she and West did talk about “Famous” while he was in the studio. Swift has since clarified her position, insisting that she was never asked to approve the “that bitch” part of the song.
That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet. pic.twitter.com/4GJqdyykQu
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 18, 2016
This video “evidence” has inspired a hashtag “party” that’s now overflowing with Swift detractors. But she still has millions of loyal defenders like Joseph Kahn, who’s directed four of Swift’s videos, including “Bad Blood,” which was inspired by her feud with Katy Perry, or issues with Camilla Belle, or maybe just anticipated her Calvin Harris break-up. (We kid, she can easily churn out something new about Harris, since she’s writing his songs for him.)
The Power/Rangers fan filmmaker is developing a satire about race relations, which will see him send up racism with hip-hop battles.* But he took a break from such work to chime in on the “Famous” debacle with all the nuance of someone who’s preparing to skewer bigotry via some Sick Beats™—or rather, someone who must have recently watched American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson and read too much into the brief appearance of the young Kardashian kids.
Kahn is, of course, referring to Nicole Brown Simpson, whose murder in 1994 was the basis for the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson, which eventually resulted in an acquittal. The former football player was also acquitted of the murder of Ron Goldman, who was a friend of Nicole Brown Simpson, but he was held liable for their deaths in a civil suit.
The late Robert Kardashian, a longtime friend of Simpson’s, was part of the Simpson defense team. He was also father to four Kardashian kids, including the aforementioned Kim. Although there’s no proof that Kardashian’s kids ever wrote briefs for him or otherwise helped get any evidence thrown out, Kahn suggests that their DNA retroactively renders them character witnesses for Simpson. This is a perfectly logical way to respond to a credibility issue, or a celebrity feud, or whatever convoluted publicity stunt might actually be at play here. But if you don’t agree with that, let Kahn just save you the time of trying to convince him otherwise.
It should be noted that while Kahn is happy to interpret Swift’s “character assassination” claims literally, he presumably doesn’t want anyone to read too much into this tweet about the Illuminati and Force chokes and such.
[*Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly credited Kahn with involvement in the new Power Rangers movie that’s being directed by Dean Israelite.]