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"Vanderpump Rules" Controversy: Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute Fired For Racism

Faith Stowers shares her story of the duo's racist actions against her.

Staple cast members of the Bravo reality show Vanderpump Rules, Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, have been fired from the show.

The firings are a result of accusations of racism from fellow cast mate Faith Stowers, who hasn't appeared on the show for several seasons. According to CNN, "New cast members Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni were also let go, after racist tweets from their past recirculated."

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CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.

RIP to 50 Cent's Feud with Lala Kent and Randall Emmett

"Fofty" was threatening to crack Randall Emmett's head open a few days ago, but now the rapper is "wishing him and his family a very blessed day."

Bravo.com

50 Cent's feud with producer Randall Emmett and his fiancée, Vanderpump Rules star Lala Kent was one of the weirdest beefs of the year, if not this lifetime.


It basically boiled down to this: Randall Emmett borrowed a million dollars from 50 Cent and the rapper/co-producer of Power demanded his money back, or else. But soon, things snowballed into a full-fledged mudslinging fest where embarrassing texts were revealed, Harvey Weinstein comparisons were flung, and plenty of memes were born.

It all started when 50 Cent (real name Curtis Jackson III) took to Instagram to post a clip from Vanderpump Rules of Randall's fiancée, Lala Kent, discussing how her relationship began: she let him "hit it" on the first date, and then got a Range Rover the next day. 50 captioned the video: "10 seconds left in the 4 quarter hoe's are Winning. Do you want A range rover [starry-eyes emoji] yes, bitch yassss. Then just run out [female-jogger emoji, gust-of-wind emoji] and suck a dick. LOL smh [face-palm emoji]."


Lala Kent––whose specific brand of sex-positive empowerment we recently dissected in order to decide if it's actually woke––is very passionate about two things: her man and keeping it real. If you've ever watched Vanderpump Rules, then you know that Lala is quick to clap back and point her acrylic nails in anyone's face who crosses her path. Kent commented on 50's post: "She swears she's a thug from south side Jamaica queens & she's up in here watching Bravo." She continued, "Someone has forgotten where they came from."

It's a big claim from Kent — who grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah — considering the infamous rapper was shot nine times in 2000 and survived. All good feuds escalate at a rapid pace, and this one is no exception.

50 responded by posting a text exchange between him and Randall, where Randall pleads, begs, and asks for forgiveness among claims of having a heart attack and heading to the ER in what would become the feud's most iconic line "I said I'm sorry fofty."


Well, Fifty's not buying it. He even posted a meme accusing Ran of faking the heart attack. The rap mogul is done waiting around, and he's threatening violence if Randall doesn't get the money to him by today, Monday April 29th. He warned in a text to Emmett "Keep playing with me and get ya fucking head cracked in front of everybody."

This spurred Lala to take to her Instagram story (it's not a real fight unless someone goes on vlogging rant) to voice her anger with 50 using the clip of her in a way she claimed served to "diminish the validity of the #MeToo movement."

Fifty raised the stakes when he reposted the video of Kent and claimed that there was no difference between Emmett and Harvey Weinstein. He captioned the video, "Hey how is the Range Rover? There's no difference between Harvey Weinstein and Randel Emmett! This is reality, not reality TV." Can you hear that? It's the sound of a collective "yikes."

50 Cent might have been ready to knock Randall out, but he seemed to have been having a good time milking the feud for all its publicity glory at the same time. Over the weekend, the Rapper was relentless in his mocking of Emmett. Fans went on Kent and Emmett's respective Wikipedia pages and made a few edits to poke fun at the situation and 50 cent even created t-shirts bearing the "I'm sorry fofty" line.

Of course, Chrissy Teigen had to chime in, because doesn't she always? "I never ever want 50 cent to be mad at me," she said on Twitter. "please love me, fofty." KK Chrissy duly noted.

This feud escalated from a simple bitch-better-have-my-money to a full-fledged discourse on the prevailing movement surrounding sexual assault. There may not be a setting that could be more inappropriate for discussing these issues, but nonetheless, it made for good TV. Not sure if Randall is faking the heart attack, or how this will affect Lala's burgeoning musical career, but we can all agree that we hope this arc plays out in the next season of Vanderpump Rules.

As of 20 minutes ago, it looks like the feuders have finally reached an agreement. Fifty got his money and seems to be all good vibes only now as he captioned his latest post "I got my money, so I have no problem with @randallemmettfilms in fact I'm wishing him and his family a very blessed day. 😏positive vibes now guys." The rapper has wiped most of the posts clean from his Instagram page, except for one last screenshot showing that he has, in fact, received the wire.

Randall seems to have cleaned up this mess for now. While the memories may fade, the screenshots will last forever....


Sara is a music and culture writer.


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