Kardashian sees red at blackface Vienna ball stunt
Austrian tabloid TV host apologises for offending US reality TV star
US television personality Kim Kardashian (left), her mother Kris Jenner (right) and their host, 81-year-old Austrian businessman Richard Lugner (centre) arrive for the Vienna Opera Ball at the State Opera in Vienna. Photograph: EPA/Herbert Pfarrhofer
Vienna’s Opera Ball, the highlight of Austria’s Eurotrash calendar, reached a new low on Thursday night with a blackface scandal, a fist
fight and a bewildered Kim Kardashian.
The US reality television star was the centre of attention at the 58th annual ball after accepting a reported $500,000 (€362,000) to be the date of Austrian retail billionaire Richard Lugner.
The 81-year-old has achieved notoriety in Viennese society for paying famous women to spend the evening on his arm. Previous dates include Joan Collins, Sophia Loren, Grace Jones and two of the three Charlie’s Angels. In recent years his dates’ ages – and necklines – have plunged to include Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra and burlesque dancer Dita von Teese.
This year Mr Lugner outdid himself: at a photo call with Ms Kardashian at his Lugnercity shopping centre he revealed he had undergone botox injections in his face for the occasion. Followed by a phalanx of photographers they appeared at Vienna Opera House, where his date refused to dance with him. “I’d rather watch the dancing,” said the 33-year-old, as the billionaire waltzed away with her mother, Kris.
Another Lugner guest, German comedian Oliver Pocher, attempted to get the television star on to the parquet by offering – live on Austrian television – to get the orchestra to play Niggas in Vienna , apparently a nod to the song Niggas in Paris by Ms Kardashian’s fiancé Kanye West.
Then West himself showed up – or rather Austrian tabloid television host Chris Stephan in white tails and blackface.
The Kardashians were reportedly shocked but, to fulfil the terms of their contract with Mr Lugner, had to remain at the ball for another 90 minutes.
Mr Stephan yesterday apologised for any offence caused by his stunt, denied he was racist and insisted Mr Lugner promised him a free ticket if he blacked up. “I’m so sorry it all went so badly wrong and was completely misunderstood,” wrote Mr Stephan on his Facebook page. Denying charges of racism, he added: “I’m an Arab myself, born in Austria. ”
When Ms Kardashian was announced as Mr Lugner’s latest ball date, Mr Stephan wrote: “They’re all the same, brain as big as a peanut and enough silicon to seal Lugnercity.”
The climax of the ball was a fist fight outside Mr Lugner’s opera box involving a drunk man, a German television host and a flying champagne glass. By then Ms Kardashian and her mother had already fled.