The Kardashians are threatening legal action after a photo of Khloé Kardashian in a bikini was posted "by mistake" on Instagram over the weekend.
The picture in question shows Khloé smiling poolside in Palm Springs, Calif., and was mostly unedited. It was quickly taken down, but not before screenshots went viral on social media. Some Twitter accounts that shared the image were suspended, facing legal threats if the photo was not removed.
"The color edited photo was taken of Khloé during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant," Tracy Romulus, chief marketing officer for KKW Brands, told Page Six in a statement. "Khloé looks beautiful but it is within the right of the copyright owner to not want an image not intended to be published taken down."
As for whether Khloé has a solid case, one legal expert says it could be difficult.
"Whether Ms. Kardashian could sue any of the individuals who shared her photo depends on a number of factors, including the laws of the state in which a suit was commenced. Some states do not allow 'celebrities' to sue for violations of the right to privacy, and whether she has a valid claim may rely on whether she can prove she was harmed in any way by the distribution of the photo," Ariel Ronneburger, an intellectual property partner with Cullen and Dykman, tells Yahoo Entertainment.
"Further, the purpose for which the photo is used also plays a role in whether there is a legitimate lawsuit — that is, whether the photo being used for a commercial purpose or for a reporting purpose," the New York-based attorney adds. "Generally, if a photo is being used for a newsworthy purpose, there will not be a valid claim for a violation of a right to privacy. It's possible there may be a copyright infringement claim as well — but again, whether Ms. Kardashian has a valid claim for infringement depends. If the photo is not being used for commercial purposes, it may be difficult to assert an infringement claim."
Still, the move from Team Kardashian left some on social media stunned. Many people praised how "beautiful" and "natural" Khloé looks in the image, which is not heavily edited like most KarJenner pics.
@khloekardashian I loved the unedited picture of you it’s real and beautiful without the editing
— Jessica (@jessvancleave) April 6, 2021
Girl I’m just saying that unfiltered photo is one of your best yet. @khloekardashian like S T U N N I N G. Own it!
— potato (@stacetater) April 6, 2021
Anyone else see that raw unfiltered picture of @khloekardashian ? She looked good without all the photoshop.
— 👑 (@__C0leWorld) April 6, 2021
Khloé shared plenty of bikini photos from Easter weekend, but fans preferred the unfiltered shot.
Just wanted to say, that unedited picture of you that y'all tried so hard to take down and hide, it was fire. That was real and unedited fire. Your body looked great, your suit was cute, and your face was beautiful. This is a great pic, but the unedited one was phenomenal 👌🏼
— Kermit The Sad (@KermitTheSad1) April 6, 2021
The debacle put Twitter's questionable policies back in the spotlight, too. Many users called out the company for how quickly some accounts were suspended for sharing the image, while online harassment remains an issue.
The swiftness at which @Twitter can remove photos Khloe Kardashian finds unflattering and ban accounts for posting them while leaving female journalists and other ~plebes~ to fend for themselves against literal death and r*pe threats is honestly... deeply disturbing to me.
— Sophie Ross (@SophRossss) April 6, 2021
I use to think I would get suspended for the things I said about Trump,but nope...it’s gonna because I posted a pic of @khloekardashian that hadn’t been photoshopped yet. Nothing says BODY POSITIVE (her brand motto) like this tactic of hers.
— JEN, PROUD QUEER LEFTIST RESISTER in TN 🌈❄️💋😂 (@JennaForTruth) April 6, 2021
I literally got my account suspended for posting an unedited, natural photo of Khloe Kardashian. they are trying to scrub the internet clean of the photo. Where was this energy when Rob was posting revenge porn of Blac Chyna?? 🤔🤔🤔🤔
— Jimbo (@BugattiJimbo) April 6, 2021
Khloé has yet to publicly address the situation.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: