"Yeah," the voice on the recording says, "we say the n-word all day long. Nigger, nigger."
We've been told the voice is that of Kris Jenner, the media mogul and Kardashian family empress. If it were, it would be the biggest gossip story of the entire year. It certainly sounds like her.
The recording—supposedly an hour-long conversation between a small-time black gossip blogger named Jacky Jasper and a woman he identifies as Kris Jenner—has been for sale to celebrity gossip blogs and tabloids for months. But no publication has decided to purchase it—not because the Kardashian family is powerful and gossip outlets are corrupt. Because that voice isn't her.
On Friday morning, after a months-long investigation, the FBI descended on a Four Seasons hotel room in Los Angeles, according to Radar Online, seizing the electronics of one Christina Bankston. The FBI reportedly believes Bankston has stalked and impersonated Jenner for months.
As far as we can tell, that's where the recording came from: a talented Jenner mimic, working in concert with a hacker with access to Jenner's iCloud account to wreak havoc on Kris Jenner's life for months—making fake restaurant reservations, setting up meetings with Hollywood executives, stealing photographs, leaking gossip, and even sending iMessages from her account to her husband and daughter.
We say "as far as we can tell" because the hacker has stayed hidden and the Kardashian camp won't talk to us except to categorically deny Jenner's involvement.
The exact connection between the previously reported hacking attacks and Bankston, who TMZ implies is mentally disturbed, is still unclear. TMZ and Radar have variously reported that Jenner's Instagram account was hacked, that "pranksters" were making restaurant reservations under her name, and that she'd received threatening phone calls.
But the existence of this recording, and the way in which it came to us, indicate that Bankston and at least one hacker may have worked together, attempting to catfish not just Jacky Jasper's blog but also TMZ and other gossip outlets.
Eventually, it seems, the impersonator unleashed a stream of racist invective while pretending to be Kris Jenner—invective memorialized on the aforementioned recording and put on the market as the "story of the year."
We were first introduced to the tape in early July, when we got a call from a man who introduced himself as Jacky Jasper, the proprietor of a gossip blog called Diary of a Hollywood Street King. Jasper told us he had an hour-long tape of a phone conversation between himself and Kris Jenner in which Jenner allegedly embarked on a Donald Sterling-esque racist rant. He wanted to sell it to us, or partner with us in some way to publish it.
We were, needless to say, interested. Earlier in the year, Jenner and her daughter Kim Kardashian had been approached and harassed by a white Austrian comedian in blackface at the Vienna Opera Ball. Jenner's offended reaction was widely covered—and featured in her reality show—but it'd be placed in much different light if there existed a recording of her using racial slurs herself. Especially if such a recording could be published.
So Jasper put us in touch with a lawyer, a guy named Darrick Angelone, and after we agreed not to publish any portion of the tape until terms had been set, we received two clips from the phone conversation.
In the first clip, the woman alleged to be Jenner uses the word "nigger" a series of times—including directly at Jasper, on the other end of the line—and says that she loves her son-in-law West only because "he has money." In the shorter clip, the woman refers to Jaden Smith as a "butler."
Jasper and Angelone told us that they had interest in the tapes from other outlets—they named AMI, the parent company of National Enquirer and Radar Online; TMZ; and several British tabloids—at prices well out of our range, but wanted to sell to us because they were convinced that those outlets would suppress the tape in exchange for access. (They also expressed their admiration for Gawker Media founder Nick Denton.)
Nevertheless, there was some pressure to make an offer. We told them we needed time to verify the recording, and we asked that they let us know if they planned to sell it to another publisher.
Because here's the thing: The woman sounded a lot like Kris Jenner. We isolated individual words and phrases from the recordings and compared them to the same words and phrases spoken during Jenner's television appearances. We did some very preliminary analysis of the recording's waveforms to confirm that it hadn't been doctored. We played it for Keeping Up With the Kardashians superfans. The recording seemed to everyone—at least in this early, passing stage—to be legitimate.
But we were still skeptical. For one thing: How did a small-time gossip blogger strike up a friendship with one of television's biggest stars? Diary of a Hollywood Street King mostly runs rumors about black reality-television celebrities that even MediaTakeOut might think are too flimsy (or worthless) to publish.
Jasper's story was that he'd struck up a relationship with Kris Jenner through an intermediary named Troy Leatherby. Leatherby, Jasper said, identified himself as Jenner's assistant and claimed that he and Jenner were having an affair.
Jasper and his lawyer told us that Leatherby had been the source of two items published on Hollywood Street King in March: a since-deleted one claiming that Jenner staged the infamous fight between West and a racially abusive white teenager, and another that alleges to show Jenner arranging a hookup with a 38-year-old man named "Troy Leapherby." (The misspelled last name is likely a typo, but it did not exactly inspire confidence in the consistency of Jasper's account.)
Two days after publishing those items, Jasper posted emails from someone calling herself "Kris" that implore Jasper to pull the posts down.
But instead of treating him like an adversary, the person who'd reached out to Jasper as Jenner began to use him as a way to leak information about her Jenner's family. Jasper pointed us to two exclusives he'd gotten straight from "Kris Jenner" and her supposed intermediary. The first was an "HSK Exclusive" posted on April 23 consisting of voicemails left on Jenner's phone by her estranged sister Karen Houghton.
The other was a story Jasper had posted on May 23 with the headline "No Booze For Kourtney Kardashian @ Kim & Kanye's Wedding!" In the post—another "HSK Exclusive"—he wrote that Kourtney, the least popular of the three Kardashian sisters, was pregnant with her third child:
Kim may have recently finished 15-bottles with her E! wedding party in Paris… but you can bet Kourtney was excluded from boozin' it up with the bride. Know why? HSK has exclusively learned the 35-year-old Kardashian sister is pregnant with her third child.
It would turn out that Jasper was right, and that he had beaten the mainstream entertainment media—which didn't report Kourtney's pregnancy until after she'd revealed it on the June 8 season premiere of Keeping Up With the Kardashians—to the story by two weeks. As far as Jasper was concerned, the real, exclusive leaks were ironclad proof that he was talking to the real Kris Jenner.
So why, now, was he turning around and selling out the best and biggest source Diary of a Hollywood Street King ever had?
The relationship began to turn sour after Jasper helped broker a mid-April meeting between himself, the woman calling herself Jenner—whom Jasper still had only spoken with on the phone and over email, and never met in person—and a man named Jeff Clanagan, who runs a division of Lionsgate called Codeblack Films. "Kris" told Jasper she was looking to get her youngest daughters Kendall and Kylie a footing in the entertainment industry, and Jasper thought Clanagan—a longtime Hollywood executive who was instrumental in the rise of Kevin Hart—might be a good place to start.
But "Kris" blew the meeting off. Jasper showed us text messages between him and a man he says is Clanagan discussing the meeting; in them, Jasper and Clanagan discuss a television venture involving Kendall and Kylie that Clanagan says Hart has agreed to executive produce. Jasper confirms the meeting ("just got off the phone with her—she's excited") but soon the text conversation turns to Jenner having missed the meeting, which left Clanagan sour. To Jasper he writes: "Man does she think I am just some joe blow who ain't connected." (Clanagan did not respond to requests for comment.)
A few weeks later, "Kris" asked Jasper to help contribute "writing" for the forthcoming season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, but when he never followed through he says their relationship became more contentious.
The next time Jasper and "Kris" spoke on the phone, she responded with invective and the racist diatribe. Jasper was recording the whole time. This was the tape he wanted to sell to us.
Having heard this entire story, we were now even more confused. Why wasn't there a working phone number for "Kris"? Why would Jenner—who brokered a $40 million dollar deal with Ryan Seacrest for her reality show—need to solicit the business connections of a little-known gossip blogger?
Jasper had responses to some questions—the family used burner cell phones to keep their numbers from being leaked; Jasper told Clanagan that "Kris" bailed on their meeting because she'd agreed on a deal for her kids with Bunim/Murray, the production company that handles Keeping Up With the Kardashians—but at least two major questions remained unanswered: Why, if Jasper and "Kris" talked nearly every day, had they never met in person? And who the hell was Troy Leatherby? Or Leapherby, for that matter? No one under either name pops up in public record databases; the only Google search results are from Diary of a Hollywood Street King and various other sites aggregating it.
The man who claims to be in possession of a purported sex tape of Kris Jenner has come forward to sensationally claim he wants to sell it to the same production company that released her daughter's XXX video.
The individual, who identified himself as "Troy", told RadarOnline.com last night he intended on contacting Vivid Entertainment — the porn studio behind Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Farrah Abraham's sex tapes — and wanted more than one million dollars to sell the rights.
Troy had told Jasper he was Kris Jenner's assistant and lover, and that he worked with her to place stories on gossip blogs for the PR. But Radar portrays him as a stalker.
Radar has verified the man is the same individual who has been contacting Jenner, 58, beginning last week, as this site first reported.
As we revealed, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians momager has contacted law enforcement with her claims that an individual was stalking and extorting her over a tapes he emphatically has claimed doesn't exist.
Troy confirmed he has bombarded Jenner with "hundreds" of phone calls but insisted it was NOT harassment.
"That is absolutely true, yes I have," the man said.
A similar story appeared on TMZ on April 18. Troy was never mentioned, but the blog called the sex tape rumors the work of "a group of pranksters [...] on a diabolical mission to destroy the Kardashian family."
Sources close to Kris tell us, the matriarch is convinced she and the rest of the Kardashian family are the victims in an elaborate prank plot — and she believes the people behind it are the same people who spread rumors she was in a sex tape.
We're told the group is responsible for a string of pranks against the family — planting bogus stories about the sex tape, Kris dating a rapper, Kim's wedding, Rob Kardashian in rehab, and more.
Even crazier ... Kris believes one of the pranksters has been impersonating her to a tee, booking fake photoshoots and fancy restaurant reservations around the country.
These items—Jasper and Angelone's line of thinking went—were counterintelligence, scratch thrown by the Jenner-Kardashians to preemptively discredit Troy in case he ever went public.
And there was also the question of Jasper himself. It was clear that "Jacky Jasper" was a pseudonym, but it was difficult to get straight answers about his blog or his business relationships. His narrative, as he'd told it, hung together; he was eager and able to provide us with documentation for nearly every interaction he described, even when the motivations and actions of "Kris" didn't always make sense. But it was hard to shake the sense that there was a lot Angelone and Jasper weren't telling us.
Jasper, who was prone to long, gossipy tangents about celebrities and minor hangers-on that seemed to have little bearing on the matter at hand, was difficult to get a hold off and would call and text at odd hours. Angelone, meanwhile, was attempting to broker a deal for the tape in which we'd link to and cover items on Diary of a Hollywood Street King.
It was now a few days after the initial contact, and the pressure for us to move quickly to scoop other outlets seemed to have vanished. Jasper and Angelone were still enthusiastic to make some kind of deal work. To further show us that their Kardashian dirt was legitimate, they emailed us a series of photographs they considered even more proof that Troy (and therefore Jasper) had access to Kris Jenner: private photographs and screenshots from Jenner's iPad.
The photos included selfies of Jenner, apparently playing around with Photo Booth filters on what looked like a private plane; screenshots of texts between Jenner and her ex-husband Bruce Jenner and her daughter Kendall; and never-before-seen photos of Kim and her baby North West.
But nowhere in the amassed "evidence" was proof that Jenner had met or was engaged in a relationship with "Troy," or that Kris Jenner had ever spoken with Jacky Jasper. The photos showed only members of the Kardashian family. And the text exchanges veered into the bizarre: At one point in a text thread between Bruce and Kris—after banal texts about when Bruce is going to return home after golfing—Bruce texts "Go fuck yourself." Whoever is controlling Kris' iPad at that point responds "U could try but u could never find me." This goes on for dozens of texts—Bruce: "Were coming after you and we'll find you. Dumb fuck."—before Bruce begins to ignore the antagonizer.
In other words, the photos sent to us by Jasper didn't look that much like the collection of someone working with Kris Jenner. They looked a lot more like normal, boring photos taken from Kris Jenner's photo stream. And the messages seemed to have been sent from her iCloud account without her knowledge.
When we pointed this out to Angelone, he simply asked: "Why wasn't Troy arrested for hacking?"
Soon after—about a week since we first were contacted—Jasper told us that he and Angelone had reached a deal to sell the tape to a British tabloid for a few hundred thousand dollars. We readied a short post for the following Monday—when Jasper said the full tape would be published—and waited. But nothing happened. The tape was never published and Jasper and Angelone got back in touch with us a few days later, offering the tape for less than ten percent of what they told us other tabloids were offering.
Meanwhile, we'd been calling around to other gossip outlets of the kind that tend to get offered recordings like this. No one wanted to talk on the record, but we confirmed that we weren't the first outlet that Jasper and Angelone—or Troy, for that matter—had approached. And, it seemed, everyone else had the same doubts that we did.
Jasper and Angelone, who had never met Troy in person and had no reliable way of contacting him, continued to insist that the tape was legitimate. They provided us with phone numbers for Troy—all of which were disconnected or not working—and an email address, messages to which were never returned.
Jasper also told us that he was listening in when Troy and the person he believes is Kris Jenner spoke on the phone with a TMZ employee named Mike Walters. Walters—who has worked at the gossip site since its inception—is essentially TMZ's "Kardashian guy," and he's said to have a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with the family. Jasper would not reveal the details of the conversation, but he said that Walters did not buy—literally or figuratively—whatever it was that he'd heard. (Walters, through a TMZ spokesperson, declined comment.)
Kris Jenner's publicist, Jennifer Stith, also acknowledged the matter but declined comment. We spoke with Marty Singer, Jenner's lawyer, who emailed us a statement in response:
I am surprised that Gawker would run such a story since there is nothing newsworthy about Jacky Jasper trying to sell an imposter tape of my client to Gawker and other web sites. It is my understanding that several web sites have been offered this tape by Mr. Jasper and no one is willing to buy the tape or even publish a story.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, to the extent that Gawker does publish the story based on the fraudulent imposter tape of Kris Jenner being offered by Jacky Jasper, it is imperative that the story make it clear that the tape and the story accompanying the tape is that of an imposter of Kris Jenner. To the extent that Gawker would not report these facts than Gawker would be exposed to significant liability for publishing a defamatory story about our client.
Singer didn't respond to repeated follow-up questions.
At the end of July, the same stolen images of Kardashian and Jenner that Jasper had sent to us popped up on MediaTakeOut, then were quickly taken down. In August, Jasper texted us early in the morning, claiming that he'd had some kind of analyst verify the recording. He promised to send us the analyst's report, but it never materialized.
Jasper had, at that point, broken off contact with "Troy," and hadn't spoken with the woman he still believes to be Jenner in months. He and Angelone both insist they and Troy were not in on a hoax or scam together; given the extent to which Diary of a Hollywood Street King leaned on Troy as a legitimate source, we're inclined to believe them.
For weeks now, our working theory has been that the hacker or hackers who had already received coverage from TMZ and Radar were working in concert with an impersonator, who used the information gleaned from the hacks to catfish Jasper and other gossip bloggers. If the FBI and TMZ are right, this impersonator is Bankston, an accused stalker of Jenner.
Who, then, is the hacker—the "Troy" who Jasper spoke with on the phone, and who seems to have used Bankston to bolster the material he found on her iCloud? This morning, Diary of a Hollywood Street King published a post called "Andrew 'Knight' Payan Confirmed as Kris Jenner 'Hacker'!!!," featuring the photographs and iMessages Angelone had sent us a few weeks ago. (The former unquestioning acceptance of Troy's story—and his gossip—has been recast as steadfast, day-one skepticism: "A red flag went up the minute 'Troy' told us he secretly obtained the material from Kris Jenner's iPad, leading HSK to refrain from publishing.")
The post claims that the entire hack was "an intricate plot, diabolically devised to set up Jacky Jasper" and undertaken by Andrew Payan, the conman who infiltrated Lindsay Lohan's social circle in 2012 by telling people he was music producer Suge Knight's son. The "proof"? Another conman, Joseph Rowe, identified as Payan's uncle, identifies the recorded voice of "Troy Leatherby" as Payan.
It's a bit slim to be conclusive. And it gets weirder: Rowe is I.D.'d by a poster embedded in the blog post, purportedly from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, as "Jacky Jasper," "blogger for diaryofahollywoodstreetking.com." Rowe claims Payan's mother Tia "set me up [and] told the cops… the cops they got in pocket…that I work for Diary of a Hollywood Street King and that my alias is you [Jacky Jasper]."
But...according to an officer from the sheriff's department, the poster is fake. The arrest report below it is real; Joseph Rowe was arrested on July 30 and sentenced to 270 days in jail on August 4. (We spoke with Jasper on the phone on August 21, so it seems unlikely that he's Joe Rowe.)
So, is "Troy" Andrew Payan, or is this just another one of Jacky Jasper's elaborate rabbit holes? Is "Kris" Christina Bankston, or is there another woman involved who can mimic Kris Jenner to a tee? Or are Kris Jenner's hackers and harassers still out there and unidentified? Right now, your guess is as good as ours. If you know anything, shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.