Project Runway‘s Kenley Arrested for Attacking Fiancé with Cat
Are we sexist when it comes to domestic violence?
– Carrie Seim
Project Runway finalist Kenley Collins couldn’t “make it work” with her fiancé.
The irksome designer spent Tuesday night in jail after allegedly attacking Zak Penley with a cat. According to the police report, Kenley also slammed a door on his head and threw a laptop, apples and water at him.
When I first heard this story, I let out a snarky laugh. Whiney Kenley going to jail for throwing a cat at her fiancé – almost too tacky to be true. I thought of a million zingers — jail fits her like a glove. It’s the purrrfect place for her snotty self. Guess she can say “auf Wiedersehen!” to her engagement. (They get worse, folks.)
But then I thought of Chris Brown and Rihanna and wondered if I was taking a serious case of domestic violence far too lightly.
What do you think? Are we sexist when it comes to domestic violence?
What if the story had been about a male reality TV star and his female fiancé – would I have reacted differently? If, let’s say, The Bachelor’s Jason had slammed Molly’s head with a door and thrown a laptop at her – would I be outraged and demand the end of his career?
At the very least, I doubt I’d be making jokes at their expense, which I found hard to resist. (The New York Post mocked Kenley’s “weapon of meow destruction.” E! called her a “feisty fashionista.” And many commenters seem fixated not on the violence of the attack, but the realization that if Kenley marries Zak, her name will be Kenley Penley.)
In reality, Kenley faces charges of assault, criminal possession of a weapon, harassment and “menacing,” according to the police report. She was released without bail earlier this week.
Zak woke up around 7:00 a.m. Tuesday to Kenley flinging their cat at his face. According to E!, after tossing all variety of household objects, structures and animals at her betrothed, Kenley said, “You’re lucky, it could have been worse.”
A neighbor told the New York Post that the couple fights frequently:
“‘Lately there has been a lot of yelling,’ neighbor Ken Edge, 31, said. ‘I can hear Kenley much louder than I can hear Zak. When she speaks, she yells. Since she moved in around September there have been a lot of noise problems.'”
Clearly, the differences between Kenley’s and Chris Brown’s alleged attacks are significant. Kenley’s charges are far less damning than Chris’ felony charges. Kenley’s fiancé complained of redness, swelling and pain to the face and head as well as fear, alarm and annoyance. But those hardly compare to Chris allegedly choking Rihanna to unconsciousness and pummeling her face repeatedly with his fists.
Still, I found Kenley’s response after being released from jail creepy. Instead of apologizing, she sounded like a batterer downplaying her culpability:
“It was a miscommunication,” she told The Post. “Fights happen, And that’s that. There is no case.”
I think it’s an important reminder that we must condemn any sort of domestic violence, regardless of gender or degree. Whether it’s a he, a she or a feline – it’s simply wrong.