Woman Doubles Down On Claims She Was Broke While Working For Kardashian Apps

Jessica DeFino has a candid response to Kim Kardashian’s infamous career advice: “I did it — and I could barely get out of it.”

The Los Angeles woman on Tuesday doubled down on her claims that she struggled to pay for food and gas – while working as an employee for the now-defunct Kardashian-Jenner official apps.

DeFino, 32, first lambasted reality TV royalty in March after Kim Kardashian boldly declared, “I have the best advice for women in business.”

“Get your king ass up and work it,” Kardashian said. “It seems like nobody wants to work these days,” she added in the now-viral video shared by Variety, which was later mocked online. DeFino was one of the women who berated the superstar for her tone-deaf comments.

“I was an editor on the Kardashian apps in 2015 in Los Angeles,” DeFino first claimed in a Twitter post published on March 9. “I worked days, nights and weekends, could only afford groceries at the 99 Cents Only Store, called ‘sick’ more than once because I couldn’t get gas in my car on my way to the office, and I was reprimanded for freelancing on the side.The scathing tweet quickly went viral, racking up more than 600,000 likes.

Now, in a scathing new piece — titled “I worked my ass off for the Kardashian-Jenner apps. I couldn’t afford gas” — for Vice, DeFino explains his experience and spoke with other employees at a Kardashian Company who also claim they were overworked and underpaid.

DeFino was an employee of Whalerock Industries, the digital media company the Kardashian-Jenner clan hired in May 2015 to build their apps. Each sister launched an app featuring exclusive content for paying subscribers, with the company earning them millions of dollars before they shut down in 2019.

Whalerock is not owned or operated by the Kardashian-Jenner family and DeFino admits the sisters “probably didn’t know what the people behind their apps were paid.”

Reps for the Kardashian-Jenners didn’t respond to The Post’s requests for comment — but an insider familiar with DeFino’s ‘5-year-old’ claims told the Post that the family was just a ‘Whalerock client’. therefore they had “no insight or knowledge of the employees”, having instead liaised with a single senior manager of the company.

When contacted by The Post for comment, a Whalerock spokesperson said: “Jessica DeFino was an at-will employee of Whalerock for 14 months, seven years ago. Employees at his level received base pay, plus overtime for all overtime hours worked, and were eligible for and received bonuses and regular pay raises.
Instagram/Jessica DeFino

“I was an associate editor on official Kardashian Jenner apps, and I didn’t make enough money to make it work,” DeFino says in the post, saying she earned an annual salary of $35,000. .

DeFino — who was in her twenties at the time — claims she ended up with just over $600 a week in her after-tax bank account. The amount barely covered the cost of food, rent, bills and gas.

In the article, DeFino recalls a time when she could only afford to put $4 worth of gas in her car, which wasn’t enough to get her from the office to her home.

“I panicked, banged on the steering wheel and screamed. And then I cried,” she wrote of the traumatic experience that took place in 2015.

The Kardashian-Jenner clan hired Whalerock Industries, a digital media company, to create and launch the apps in 2015.
The Kardashian-Jenner clan hired Whalerock Industries, a digital media company, to create and launch the apps in 2015.
The Kylie app, created by Whalerock, is pictured.  Subscribers got access to exclusive content created by Whalerock employees.
The Kylie app, created by Whalerock, is pictured. Subscribers got access to exclusive content created by Whalerock employees.

DeFino can’t resist blowing up the work culture at Whalerock, claiming she was “summoned into a manager’s office and reprimanded” after superiors discovered she was writing freelance articles on the side in order to supplement his meager income.

She also alleges that staff members confronted her when they found out she was applying for other jobs.

“The company seemed to be monitoring every possible route to a decent income, from freelancing to finding a new job. I felt manipulated and watched, paranoid and trapped,” DeFino wrote in the post.

The ex-employee also spoke with two other former Whalerock employees who worked on the apps, both of whom say they needed to be accessible around the clock.

One of the people interviewed by Vice – who did not wish to use his real name – said: “I was working all the time. I did not sleep enough. I drank alcohol – way too much alcohol – to cope with the stress. I became physically ill. My hair was falling out.

DeFino also alleges that she suffered health issues due to work and financial stress at Whalerock, saying she fell into a “deep depression”.

She finally left the company in 2016 after working there for a year and three months. The Kardashian-Jenner apps were finally shut down in 2019.

When contacted by The Post to comment on DeFino’s stories of woe, a Whalerock spokesperson said: ‘Jessica DeFino was an at-will employee of Whalerock for 14 months, seven years ago. Employees at his level received base pay, plus overtime for all overtime hours worked, and were eligible for and received bonuses and regular pay raises.

Each sister launched an app with the help of Whalerock in 2015, which featured exclusive content for paying subscribers.  The apps all eventually shut down in 2019.
Each sister launched an app with the help of Whalerock in 2015, which featured exclusive content for paying subscribers. The apps all eventually shut down in 2019.
WireImage

Meanwhile, two other women who previously worked for Kim Kardashian’s cosmetics brand KKW Beauty said they experienced similar levels of overwork and underpayment.

“Here’s this millionaire – she wasn’t yet a billionaire – flaunting her excessive wealth, but she only wants [a few] people on the team because it’s cheap,” one of the disgruntled ex-employees told Vice.

“People were generally expected to be so lucky to work for them that they knew they could treat people like crap,” they added.

    Kardashian apologized for her initial comments, saying she was taken out of context.
Kardashian apologized for her initial comments, saying she was taken out of context.
ABC

The other employee claimed that the Kardashian-Jenners consider themselves “America’s royal family” and believed that employees would “take any salary” to work with them.

Elsewhere, Kim Kardashian apologized for her initial “Get up and work” comment, which sparked DeFino’s original tweet, saying she was taken out of context.

“It wasn’t a general statement towards women or the feeling that I don’t respect work or think they don’t work hard,” she said. “I know they do. It was taken out of context, but I’m so sorry if it was received that way.