At Last, a Plausible Origin Story for the Kim Kardashian-Ray J Sex Tape

In a 44-minute rant on Instagram Live this weekend, Ray J produced receipts that purported to show it was orchestrated by him and Kardashian.

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At Last, a Plausible Origin Story for the Kim Kardashian-Ray J Sex Tape
Ray J and Kim Kardashian attend Charlotte Ronson Fall/Winter 2006 Collection at Library Bar on March 22, 2006 Photo:Stefanie Keenan/Patrick McMullan (Getty Images)

Kim Kardashian has long claimed that she had nothing to do with the release of the sex tape that immediately preceded her rise to becoming a household name, the 2007 Vivid release Kim Kardashian Superstar. But unlike other similarly impactful celebrity sex tapes like Paris Hilton’s or Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee’s, both of which were claimed to be stolen and marketed without the consent of those depicted, it was never fully explained by Kardashian or her onscreen co-star Ray J exactly how the tape landed on the market. In a retrospective article that ran last year, we went through the press surrounding Kim Kardashian Superstar and found rather weak explanations from those involved:

In an apparent as-told-to piece for Glamour published June 30, 2007, Kardashian kept vague the mechanics of the leak she claimed. “I moved in with my mom and [Ray J] moved in with his sister, and all of the stuff from our house went into storage. The tape was in a camera bag; I forgot about it,” she said. And then: “I don’t know how, but clearly the tape fell into the wrong hands.”

Ray J previously claimed to Entertainment Tonight, “I shot the tape and she kept the tape. She says the tape got lost, I guess, when she was moving or whatever she said. I don’t know.” Now, however, he is singing a different tune. Apparently inspired by Kris Jenner’s recent appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, in which the momager underwent a lie detector test and claimed no participation in the coordination of her daughter’s tape’s release, Ray J took to Instagram Live for a 44-minute rant on Saturday to refute Jenner’s claim. “I came up with the idea. Ideas need infrastructure. Kris got the infrastructure. Boom: It’s a success,” he said.

Ray showed a lengthy DM exchange with Kardashian following the April 14 debut of her Hulu show The Kardashians, in which she fretted over the possible existence of another sex tape with Ray J. She said on the episode that she was “99 percent” that it didn’t exist, but also allowed that it was possible. “What if I was fucking sleeping and he stuck a dildo up my ass? I don’t know,” she said. Ray J confronted her about that particular line in the DMs, though Kardashian rightly pointed out to Ray J that she was laughing when she said it. An early text in their exchange shows Ray J telling Kardashian, “WHY ARE YOU PLAYING GAMES KIM-I’VE BEEN NOTHING BUT A TEAM PLAYER – WE ALL HAD AN AGREEMENT – NOW YOU ARE TRYING TO DRAG MY NAME FOR YOUR NEW SHOW AND THAT AINT KOOL! IT FUCKS UP MY BUSINESS AND RELATIONSHIPS- WHEN WE SAT DOWN WITH STEVE HIRSH AND YOUR MOM AND WE PLANNED ALL OF THIS TOGETHER.” Steven Hirsch is the founder and co-chairman of Vivid, the porn company that distributed the tape.

The DMs went on and on, and tellingly, Kardashian did not correct Ray J or ask what he was talking about in reference to them planing the tape’s release together. “If she never had anything to do with it, then why would you fuckin’ respond?” asked Ray J. It’s a good question! The tape storyline continued on The Kardashians, with Kardashian’s ex Kanye West delivering a computer and hard drives to her, which she then apparently went through only to find no existence of more sex footage.

The DMs were just the start of Ray J’s reveal. He claimed that he and Kardashian had been paid $400,000 each for the tape, refuting the rumor that Kardashian had made $5 million. He also showed pages from a contract with Vivid onscreen, apparently signed and initialed by him and Hirsch and dated January 30, 2007 (rumors that a tape was being shopped surfaced at the end of 2006 and on February 7, 2007, Vivid announced it had paid $1 million for the footage). Tellingly (and heavily emphasized by Ray J) was the existence of a page of deliverables that listed three different tapes: “cabo intro,” “cabo sex,” and “santa barbara.” Ray J said they recorded three to give Jenner options to choose from, and she selected the one that showed Kardashian in the best light.


The purpose of showing these was to give proof of Kardashian’s participation. The handwriting here, as Ray J pointed out, matches hers. If this was set up to unfairly blame her with counterfeit DMs and a fake contract, it was quite a production.

But Ray J’s rage combined with his receipts made for a compelling case. He mentioned a potential lawsuit “for all the bad shit they did to me,” in apparent reference to the way he’d been portrayed on The Kardashians, as someone who might still be holding footage over her head. (When West delivered the computer on the show, he pointed out that he did not pay Ray J for it, explaining, “Definitely not no check, we never getting extorted again.”)

“If this was real, why you didn’t sue me?” he asked. It’s a fair question. There is also the matter of such a tape being impossible to distribute at the time without the consent/signed releases of the participating parties. That said, Kardashian did file a lawsuit to stop the tape’s release, which would have been an extremely elaborate and costly ruse itself.

If nothing else, Ray J promised more was coming on this matter. “I’mma haunt you with the truth,” he promised Kardashian and Jenner.

  • Prince Harry wrote a tribute to his grandmother (not sure if you heard but she died): “Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings—from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as my Commander-in-Chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren.” [Archewell]
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