Jessica DeFino has a blunt reply to Kim Kardashian’s infamous “get your f – -king ass up and work” career advice: “I did — and I could barely scrape by.”
The Los Angeles woman is doubling down Tuesday on claims she struggled to pay for food and gas — while working as an employee for the now-defunct Kardashian-Jenner official apps.
DeFino, 32, first blasted the reality show royals back in March after Kim Kardashian boldly declared: “I have the best advice for women in business.”
“Get your f – – king ass up and work,” Kardashian said. “It seems like nobody wants to work these days,” she added in the now-viral video shared by Variety, which was subsequently mocked online. DeFino was one of the women who chastised the superstar for her tone-deaf comments.
“I was an editor on the Kardashian apps in 2015 in LA,” DeFino initially alleged in a Twitter post published March 9. “I worked days nights & weekends, could only afford groceries from the 99 Cents Only Store, called out ‘sick’ more than once bc I couldn’t put gas in my car to get to the office, & 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 elaborates on her experience, and has spoken with other employees of a Kardashian enterprise who similarly claim they were overworked and underpaid.
DeFino was an employee of Whalerock Industries, the digital media company the Kardashian-Jenner clan brought on in May 2015 to create their apps. Each sister launched an app featuring exclusive content for paying subscribers, with the venture reportedly netting them millions of dollars before they shut down in 2019.
Whalerock is not owned or operated by the Kardashian-Jenner family and DeFino admits that the sisters were “likely unaware of what the people behind their apps were paid.”
Reps for the Kardashian-Jenners have not responded 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 merely a “client of Whalerock,” so they had “no insight or knowledge into employees,” having liaised instead with only one senior person at the company.
“I was an assistant editor on the Kardashian Jenner Official Apps, and I didn’t make enough money to make it to work,” DeFino declares in the piece, saying she made an annual salary of $35,000.
DeFino — who was in her mid-twenties at the time — claims she ended up with just over $600 per week in her bank account after taxes. The amount barely covered the costs of food, rent, bills and gas.
In the article, DeFino recalls one time where 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, slapped at the steering wheel, and screamed. And then I cried,” she wrote of the traumatic experience, which took place back in 2015.
DeFino doesn’t hold back from blasting the work culture at Whalerock, saying she was “called into a manager’s office and reprimanded” after higher-ups found out she was writing freelance articles on the side in order to supplement her meager income.
She also alleges that staffers confronted her when they found out she was applying for other jobs.
“The company seemed to be surveilling all possible paths to a liveable income, from freelancing to finding a new job. I felt manipulated and monitored, paranoid and trapped,” DeFino wrote in the piece.
The ex-employee also spoke with two other former Whalerock employees who worked on the apps — both of whom claim they were expected to be accessible at all hours.
One of the Vice interviewees — who did not wish to use her real name — stated: “I worked all the time. I did not sleep enough. I was drinking alcohol — way too much alcohol — to deal with the stress. I became physically unwell. My hair was falling out.”
DeFino also alleges she suffered health issues due to work and financial stress at Whalerock, saying she fell into a “deep depression.”
She eventually left the company in 2016 after working there for one year and three months. The Kardashian-Jenner apps eventually shuttered in 2019.
When reached by The Post for comment about DeFino’s tales of woe, a Whalerock spokesperson said: “Jessica DeFino was an at-will employee of Whalerock for 14 months, seven years ago. Employees at her level were paid a base salary, plus overtime for any additional hours worked, and were eligible for and received bonuses and regular pay raises.”
Meanwhile, two other women who previously worked for Kim Kardashian’s cosmetics brand, KKW Beauty, say they experienced similar levels of overwork and underpay.
“Here’s this millionaire — she wasn’t a billionaire yet — who flaunts her excessive wealth, but she only wants [a few] people on the team because she’s cheap,” one of the disgruntled ex-employees alleged to Vice.
“There was a general expectation that people were so lucky to be working for them that they knew that they could treat people like crap,” they added.
The other employee claimed that the Kardashian-Jenners viewed themselves as “the royal family of America” and thought that employees would “take any pay” to work with them.
Elsewhere, Kim Kardashian has apologized for her initial “Get your f – – king ass up and work” comment, which sparked DeFino’s original tweet, saying she was taken out of context.
“It wasn’t a blanket statement towards women or to feel like I don’t respect the work or think that they don’t work hard,” she stated. “I know that they do. It was taken out of context, but I’m really sorry if it was received that way.”