CASE STUDY: KIM KARDASHIAN
The story reads like something out of a James Bond film. Armenian princess of American television fame gets robbed by a band of notorious jewel thieves in an exclusive Parisian hotel while on holiday attending international fashion galas. The only thing different about this version of the story, this real life story, is that the princess-in-question had absolutely no protection at her royal service. Where were the armed men standing by? Where were the trusted bodyguards hired to protect and serve, prepared specifically for a harrowing situation such as this? How could this have happened? How could her trusted men have let it happen?
Unless of course, it was an inside job.
In today’s crossover landscape of multimedia entertainment platforms, the lines between staged filming, actual life, and social media “presence” have become blurred. The allure of ‘fame by association’ has introduced a dangerous element: the transition of bodyguard to “buddy guard,” severely impacting the level of protection being offered to celebrity clients. The Paris robbery of Kim Kardashian is one of the prime cases being examined in order to upgrade safety precautions in the executive protection industry.
First, let’s look at the facts:
Date: October 3rd, 2016
Time: 3 a.m.
Location: The Hotel de Pourtales in Paris, France
Sequence of Events
2:34 a.m. – Black limo with tinted windows passes by the hotel.
2:45 a.m. – Black limo with tinted windows passes by again.
2:54 a.m. – Black limo with tinted windows passes a third time.
2:56 a.m. – Kim Kardashian makes a distressing phone call to her bodyguard, after she has been locked inside a bathroom and robbed of $11M worth of jewelry.
What Went Wrong?
- Five men dressed up as law enforcement officials were allowed to enter the building without a hitch.
- Security cameras at the hotel were outdated and did not show any incriminating evidence post-crime. Not one individual was present, reviewing the tapes to prevent a robbery from occurring.
- Kim Kardashian was alone in her room when she answered the door in the middle of the night. She did not consult with anyone first. There were no additional safety measures set up to secure her room from invasion.
- Kim Kardashian’s jewels were not kept in a locked suitcase separate from the hotel safe or the safe that she brought with her on holiday.
- Her movements were made well-known through social media, leaving her exposed to anyone who wished to invade her privacy.
Inside Hiring Process
- Kim Kardashian may not have been in charge of the hiring process; but whoever decided to hire a third-party individual i.e. a driver/chauffeur, housekeeper, nanny, tour guide etc. may not have conducted a thorough vetting process. Through this penetrable “circle of influence,” Kim’s safety was severely compromised, as she was left exposed to untrustworthy, untested individuals.
- Despite his imposing structure, Pascal is largely to blame for the event as it is his primary task to protect Kim Kardashian. Where was he during the robbery?
- As Piers Morgan details in an article for The Daily Mail UK, he states, “Kim could be dead today.” Due to his negligence as a bodyguard, Pascal Duvier was responsible at the time of the robbery, when roughly $11 million worth of jewels were taken while Kim was held up at gunpoint. As head of her security “team”, this is a huge failure.
- His “close” relationship with Kim, which includes adding himself in tweets and Instagram posts has turned him into a self-proclaimed “media junky”, according to Piers. This is not only unprofessional; it’s dangerous, and further questions his credibility as a professional security personnel. The lack of privacy is atrocious.
What Could Have Been Done?
- Background Checks – Conducting thorough background checks (criminal, social, financial and otherwise) on individuals working closely with the family should be a primary concern and standard practice before any individual is welcomed into the center of the family structure.
- Security Detail – In order to prepare for the event of a robbery, a planned protective measure should be put thoroughly in place. Protocol in the event of a planned invasion could have saved Kim Kardashian from the mental and physical duress of being held up at gunpoint. For example, “Don’t Answer The Door When Alone In The Middle Of The Night” might have been a good rule to follow, or, “Call Security First.” Careful planning could have led to successful execution and prevention of this atrocity.
- Additional Locked Protection – Hotel safes are notorious for being broken into, especially during the day when they are being unobserved and not closely monitored. When large quantities of jewelry are being transported overseas, it is vital to have an additional form of secure locked protection i.e. a suitcase/safe to protect stored valuables.
- Executive Protection Agents – The lack of professionalism being displayed by the head of security is appalling as it stands. Certain levels of conduct and formality ensure the safety of the individual, which as an executive protection agent, rather than a “buddy guard,” is of paramount importance. The safety of the client should always take priority over personal public acclaim.
- Additional Security Measures – While the hotel may have been an area of weakness for the star, as the security cameras were not up to par, additional security measures like additional cameras, screening processes, heightened level of security upon entry to the hotel, or additional security personnel on duty, especially during nighttime hours, would have greatly increased Kim’s ability to have avoided this monstrosity.
The most important protection element is intelligence: before, during, or after a crime. When guarding the world’s most famous celebrity, taking extra precaution in a foreign country seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, the security “team” protecting Kim Kardashian doesn’t seem to have the intelligence to figure this one out.