Perez Hilton Swears Off Bullying and Outing
October 14th, 2010
The September Suicides have heightened everyone’s awareness of the role that bullying and harassment has played in these tragedies. Some, like Focus On the Family and the Family “Research Council” have continued to oppose efforts to end anti-gay bullying and even shifted the blame for the suicides on the victims themselves.
But others are taking a more honorable route by looking at their own behavior to see if there’s anything they’re doing that is detrimental to the overall climate for gay people or anyone else who is different. Perez Hilton, who has been widely seen as something of a bully himself. He appeared on Ellen Degeneres’ program to say that the suicides has been “big wake-up call” call for him to turn over a new leaf.
Hilton: Over the last week and a half, two weeks, I have been doing everything I can to bring awareness to the issue of the teen suicides and gay bullying. And in doing so, a lot of people have called me a hypocrite and a bully myself, and a big one. And that’s not how I want to be perceived and that’s not what I want to put out there into the world. And it was a big wake-up call that so many people saw me that way. So, you know, from now on I really want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I want to be the change that I want to see in others. So I’m going to do things differently on my web site than I have in the past. I’m not going to call people nasty nicknames. I’m not going to go the mean route. I’m going to force myself to try and be funnier or smarter or just do things differently. Not doodle inappropriate things, not out people, which I have done all of those things in the past.
Ellen: And let me just ask you this, Why was it such a shock to you that … Didn’t you know you were doing things that were hurtful to others? I mean, I know, because after I came out I was the punchline on everybody — I was the joke. And I know what it feels like. So when you see a magazine or you see somebody and everybody thinks oh that’s funny, but there’s somebody on the other end of that, and I was the person for a long time. So I know what it feels like. How do you not look at that and go, “Somebody’s getting hurt:
Hilton: I kept justifying my actions to myself. I kept saying these are celebrities. They signed up for this. They’re adults, you know, they know its expected and it’s not me doing these things, it’s a character. So I would make up all the excuses to make it better for myself. But I don’t want to have to keep justifying what I do anymore. I was 26 when I started my web site and I’m going to be 33 now, and I grown and evolved as a person and I think it’s time for my web site to grow and evolve and change as well.
Ellen: But did you see… And I know a lot of people use that as an excuse, that we’re grownups and we’re celebrities and we’ve signed on for it. But also, I’m an adult, but when you do that and you put that out in the consciousness and people look at that and kids look at that and go, “Well adults think that’s funny to make fun of other people, why can’t we can’t make fun of other people if adults do it?”
Hilton: Absolutely. And I have to own that. I’ve done that and I don’t want to keep sending that message out there. I want to be able to continue to speak out on the gay bullying and the teen suicides, and I want to be able to go to the rallies and the marches like I had been in the past and not have people in my own community feel ashamed about me or embarrassed. You know, I … I have started. I’ve already started to do things differently and it was scary and it wasn’t easy, but I feel like it’s the right thing to do for myself and for the world.
Ellen: And really for the world.
Elton: It is. It’s about, because, people in the media, I think, have a responsibility to put things out that are positive messages for everybody.