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How Pete Davidson won over Kim Kardashian's online community of loyal super-fans

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A picture of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson on the red carpet.
Davidson and Kardashian at the Met Gala in May 2022Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images
  • Comedian Pete Davidson has been dating Kim Kardashian for several months.

  • Kardashian's online fandom is generally supportive of the relationship, but it hasn't always been.

  • 5 creators told Insider why they've warmed to the couple over time.

In early June, when TMZ released paparazzi footage of Pete Davidson taking Saint West, Kim Kardashian's 6-year-old son, on a day out at The Cheesecake Factory, the video did the rounds on popular Kardashian fan and news accounts on TikTok and Instagram.

Followers began speculating about whether this was a sign that Davidson, who has been dating Kim following her divorce with Ye, formerly Kanye West, was growing closer to the Kardashian family. Users commented that they thought Davidson would make a great "stepdad," to Kardashian's children.

It represents a huge shift in the fandom's attitude towards the relationship. When rumors initially emerged that the pair were dating in late 2021, Kardashian supporters responded with shock, disbelief, and some even with disdain. But following a high-profile attack from Ye, followers' opinions began to shift.

Insider spoke to five owners of Kardashian fan accounts, who all said they have been watching her love life unfold for years. They explained why the community has such strong opinions on her relationship with Davidson, and why they've U-turned on it over time.

Fans initially thought the pair were incompatible on the surface 

Davidson and Kardashian first caused rumors to swirl when they kissed during a sketch on "Saturday Night Live," the late-night show on which Davidson spent eight years as a comedian. Screenshots from the on-screen kiss went viral on Twitter, with people saying they were surprised by the prospect of them being more than friends.

37-year-old Kardashian fan @bravo_boo, who did not want to be named for privacy reasons, told Insider the age difference was a key reason for her surprise at the rumors the pair were dating, which she posted about on her fan account. (Kardashian is 13 years older than Davidson, and joins a list of many women celebrities who have been criticized for dating younger men due to the pervasive social stigma around it.)

Kim Kardashian, Pete Davidson in London
Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson are seen on May 30, 2022, in London.MEGA/GC Images

Zoe Oloya, a 26-year-old fan who co-runs a Kardashian TikTok account with 40,000 followers, told Insider there were other reasons fans weren't fond of Davidson early on, too.

"He didn't look like somebody that she would normally date. He didn't look like the cool guy," she said.

Several Kardashian fans described Davidson with terms like "goofy," "funny," and "covered in tattoos," which countered their descriptions of Kardashian as "clean-cut," "proper," and "glamorous." Davidson has even called himself a "diamond in the trash."

Davidson had also been in the news previously for dating other high-profile celebrities, such as Ariana Grande and Kaia Gerber, over the years, causing headlines like "Why do so many hot women love Pete Davidson?" to circle the internet. But it was more than his dating history that fans has reservations over.

Some fans also said they had reservations about Davidson's style of humor

Oloya believes Davidson was also unpopular because of past controversial jokes he has made. In particular, she said a sexual joke he made about a baby in 2019, which recirculated on social media in early 2022, caused people to disapprove of Davidson and his relationship with Kardashian's children.

Pete Davidson performs onstage at the Colossal Stage during Colossal Clusterfest.
Pete Davidson performs onstage at the Colossal Stage during Colossal Clusterfest in 2018.Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Davidson has previously come under scrutiny for making jokes that some considered to have been in poor taste and has apologized for jokes made on-air in the past.

Davidson did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

When Kanye West began attacking Davidson on social media, fans' sympathies shifted 

In February 2022, a year after Kardashian filed for divorce, Ye made a series of high-profile allusions to Davidson, including calling him "garbage" and "trash," according to Buzzfeed News, and releasing a music video that appeared to depict him burying a cartoon version of Davidson. According to screenshots shared by Ye, Kardashian had accused him of "creating a dangerous and scary environment" that could end in harm to Davidson.

The debacle became huge news on social media, with various outlets reporting that an image shared by the rapper about his social media outbursts had been made into a meme.

It also led to a polarization of fans of Ye and Davidson. Adrienn Bellert, who owns an Instagram account dedicated to sharing pictures of Kardashian and Davidson's relationship, told Insider that Ye's fanbase began attacking her and sending her death threats around this time. Other Kardashian fans also told Insider they noticed Ye's fans speaking negatively about Davidson and Kardashian on Instagram following Ye's comments.

Representatives for Ye did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West 2016 Met Gala
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at the 2016 Met Gala.John Shearer/Getty Images

Jessica, a 27-year-old Kardashian fan who did not want to reveal her last name for privacy reasons, told Insider that many long-term Kardashian fans were concerned for her during this time. "I don't know if he was trying to ruin her relationship, but it definitely felt like he was trying to prove his place and say, 'this was my wife,' and for lots of Kardashian fans, that definitely wasn't a fun time," she said.

This led to an outpouring of support for both Davidson. Ayesha, an 18-year-old fan who did not want to share her last name for privacy reasons, told Insider, "Kanye made all those allegations against him but he handled them all calmly and in a very cool way, and that's how I gradually started simping over him. He looks like a tough guy but in reality, he's an incredibly sweet person."

The tide shifted drastically after that. The Kardashian fan community has since been joyfully sharing "cute" pictures of Davidson and Kardashian traveling together, with many making clips that compare Kardashian's facial expressions in old pictures and videos with Ye to current pictures with Davidson.

"It's the way they're talking and playing in the water in their vacation pics, and he's taking videos of her. They seem so cute and like they're having fun. I don't remember seeing her like this when she was with Kanye," Bellert told Insider.

Now, fans see Davidson as a great partner for Kardashian

Some fan account owners told Insider they do not think the pair are heading for marriage or a long-term relationship, but they believe fans will still support it.

"It's not going to be the end of the world if they don't work out, but it's the perfect distraction from the divorce for her, to get her mind off that and make her hopeful for the future," Jessica told Insider.

For Oloya, the way that Davidson has won over Kardashian's skeptical fans has taught her not to "judge a book by its cover" and lay aside her reservations.

"If she makes him happy, and if he makes her happy, then what's the big deal?" she said.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.

Read the original article on Insider