Khloe Kardashian has rebuffed the backlash about her sister Kim's exorbitant birthday party on a private island, claiming Tahiti's locals were "grateful" for the tourism and that the trip helped workers "pay their bills".
Kim prompted outrage when she bragged about how she celebrated her 40th birthday online, with social media users dubbing her tweets "tone deaf", "insanely selfish" and "out of touch" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked about the controversy on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Khloe claimed she "hadn't heard a lot about it", but acknowledged that people were upset the family "went out of town".
"This year is a frustrating year. I get it. I think there's so many frustrations going on for everybody. But also, it's her 40th. This is something that she wanted to do for us. It was such a nice thing," Khloe said.
Many fans who didn't have the "simple luxury", as Kim put it, of hiring a private jet to travel to a tropical destination shared their stories of hardship online, detailing unemployment, health issues, and being forced to miss family events and even funerals due to COVID-19.
"Being there with all the precautions that we took and being there and how grateful everyone was for the tourism aspect of it - so many people said that we were their first party of guests that they've had in months and what it's done for them to be able to pay their bills or to be able to do stuff for their family," Khloe said.
"Just hearing those messages when we were there, we felt really good and we felt so safe. We did it in the safest way I could imagine someone doing it."
In her tweets, Kim maintained that she had asked everyone to quarantine and undergo multiple health checks before she surprised her "inner circle" with the luxury island getaway.
Alongside images of a glamorous party, Kim detailed how the group kayaked, swam near whales and watched a movie on the beach, where they were able to "pretend things were normal for just a brief moment in time".
"It was such a beautiful experience," Khloe concluded.
"I want Kim to focus on just how beautiful it was and what she did for everybody. I don't want that to overshadow all the greatness."
Kim's caveat that she was "humbly reminded of how privileged her life was" in one tweet did little to quell the anger of those who felt her posts were insensitive given the current climate.
Despite the negative feedback, she has continued to share more images and videos from the trip, featuring her and her sisters drinking, posing in bikinis and going for a "night swim" dressed in their designer outfits.