Perez Hilton Vows to Stop Bullying, Change His Ways: We Win a Thing!

Last week I wrote this – If Perez Hilton Wants to Save Gay Teens from Gay Bullies, He Should Quit Being a Misogynistic Gay Bully.

Perez contacted me that morning in response to my piece and we exchanged a few emails in which I re-emphasized my point about what a difference Perez could make in the world if, in addition to his activism, he vowed to change his own behavior and stop being a bully himself. At the end of our exchange he still thought I was a giant douchebag and I still felt hopeful (more on that later on) and hoped he’d consider what I — and many other voices and even his own friends and Lady Gaga — had likely been saying to him for years.

The subtitle of my post read:

“Be the change you want to see in the world, Perez Hilton.”

My post included the following strongly worded words:

“Perez Hilton is doing a good thing by getting this message out there and being such an active activist. But we’re also troubled that once again, one of our loudest voices is an actively hypocritical one!

Tyler Clementi killed himself when his sexual encounter was made public online, a little trick that Hilton has essentially built his career on. And seriously Perez Hilton, for crying out loud, you cannot continue to be such a misogynistic bully and still claim that you truly want to stop gay bullying… You ARE a bully! YOU ARE A BULLY TRYING TO STOP BULLYING BUT STILL BEING A BULLY!

Listen: if Perez Hilton really truly wants to change life for gay teens, he could stand to take a good long look at the man in the mirror and ask himself to make a change.

Also, my post says this:

“Why do I think this matters? When you are asking people to change, it’s very important that you show them HOW to change. Set an example.

All Hilton’s advocacy on behalf of gay rights is great, but think about how much MORE impact it could have if he also vowed to change his own behavior!

Because we aren’t trying to change what people say, really. We’re trying to change how people THINK…

So Perez, I challenge you: You say it gets better? Get better. Set an example.”

I wrote that because I genuinely believe every word I wrote. I did legitimately want him to change his ways and be the change he wants to see in the world. I do think he can make a difference. And that’s why we’re amongst the many who were happy to hear him tell everyone today that he was going to change, even quoting a quote from our piece.

In other words, when Perez Hilton went on Ellen today and pledged to change, my head exploded.

He also made a video himself.

At the time, I was encouraged by other team members to re-publish my email exchange with Perez. But it just felt tacky, like it wasn’t going to help further the cause.

Now that he’s pledged his commitment to change, I want to share some of our little email convo because I think it’s important.

Perez emailed me the morning I published my post. His email reiterated his devotion to being a gay activist and expressed his dismay that other gay celebs weren’t working as hard to get the word out about the It Gets Better project and make a better world for gay teens:

From Perez Hilton, to me [excerpt]

Thanks for the “loathsome” article and the other one as well!

You know what is loathsome to ME?

It would be loathsome to me if I didn’t use my website and the millions of hits it gets a day to bring awareness to these devastating suicides. It would be loathsome to me if I did not encourage kids to KEEP LIVING. It would be loathsome to me if I didn’t use my resources to encourage celebrities to do their part and make videos!”

He closed with this:

I am very flawed and far from perfect but at least I’m DOING something about this specific issue, putting aside everything else I do and what I do for a living – which I will not change.

He clearly ignored the entire point of my post, so I earnestly sat in a car heading north and emailed him back to let him know I commended his advocacy but that I thought it would make an even greater impact if he changed his ways.

A piece of the email from Me to Perez Hilton:

Can you imagine what kind of impact you could make if, in addition to speaking out against bullying, you yourself made a commitment to not saying anything about another human that you wouldn’t want a bully to say to a young gay somewhere? We want the same things, Perez — a world where a lesbian walking down a high school hallway wouldn’t be called “lezLo” or “saMANtha” and nobody would ever use the word “cocksucker” towards another human being, no matter what. You have such reach, such impact, and such obvious compassion for these issues.

People visit your site for fresh, fast, funny celeb gossip and I don’t think you need the fat jokes and deragatory language towards women to do what you do. You already told those jokes, there are plenty more interesting jokes to be told. Why put that kind of talk out there in the world, you know?

I’m willing to bet that if you declared that you would start treating people the way you want gay kids to be treated, you could really change the world in exactly the way that I know you want to — I see how hard you’re working to get everyone to participate in the itgetsbetter project and I see how you’re on top of the prop 8 and dadt news and I see you out there marching for our rights.

Perez Hilton responded to me:

I have reconciled the dichotomies which come with what I do for a living and who I am as a person. That is not an issue I struggle with, but thank you for your “loathsome” concern.
x

I responded to Perez:

I’m not concerned about you as a person, I understand the reconciliation. I’m concerned about the causes we’re both fighting for.

Also goddamn you are a fast reader or else did not really read my email or my post.

Anyhow. Thanks for all that you do!

And that, I thought (unfortunately), was that.

Then today happened and Perez told OUT Magazine some things and on The Ellen Show he basically explained my post to Ellen, which was sort of surreal, but also totally egocentric and possibly inappropriate/unjustified. But ultimately, that wasn’t the point for me anyhow, you know? Which is weird. Anyhow here’s Perez in OUT Magazine:

In trying to raise awareness and do everything I possibly could to help the issue of bullying and teen suicides, I saw that so many people were calling me a hypocrite and calling me a big bully myself. And sure, it’s to be expected and OK that will be what some people think but it felt like that was what the majority of people were thinking. And if that’s the case, I want to change that because that’s not who I am or it’s not who I want to be. I¹m still going to be sassy and critical but there’s a different way I can do that. I don’t have to call people names. I don’t have to out people.

I don’t have to draw inappropriate things on them. I don’t have to go for the cheap joke.

We’re so happy. You did good today Perez. We’re getting better all the time.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2795 articles for us.

67 Comments

  1. Well done both of you. Perez makes my blood boil at times but I think he does have a good heart deep down.Here’s hoping openly gay celebs like Adam Lambert Perez Hilton and Ellen De Generes gives the new generation of gay teenagers that little bit more hope.

  2. I think when he initially read the article he went into defensive mode. Which is totally normal and not surprising. He even responded on his twitter that day to all the people “telling him what to do” with that Cee Lo video and I knew who that was directed at. It looks like you took great care in your responses to him. And when he took a breath and thought about it without being defensive, he realized he was not being attacked. And that you and others were being sincere in your concern for our community. I completely trust that he is being sincere. Especially now that he has Ellen to answer to if he fucks up. You did a great thing. YAY AUTOSTRADDLE!! w00t!

  3. Riese, I always knew you were even more extra special than just your writing and creativity skills.
    You communicated to someone who heretofore couldn’t hear. YOU MADE HIM HEAR.
    I am in awe of this, and you.
    I pledge to but you a drink anywhere in the bay area, or have you over for Indian food. (wife from India).
    way to go!

  4. Thanks so much for taking that initiative to seek him out and tell the truth to him, Riese. That was really awesome of you. There are young lesbians who get outed in high school and act-out big time and/or go into denial. They go and sleep with as many guys as possible to ‘prove’ they’re straight. They may get drunk off their head first so they can get through it…
    That’s a big enough audience to be outed to, let alone outing a young person/person of any age to the millions of people that read your blog each day.
    And you know, maybe he should think about this…
    Put himself in the shoes of a closeted actor/actress/musician…all the people that he outs. And think about how it must feel to hear your publicist giving the usual spiel just before your interviews (No questions about their love life, no sexuality questions, no asking about his boyfriend…). Or how it must feel to leave your loved one at home as you walk the carpet with your beard or have your loved one standing in the background looking on as you stage a red-carpet kiss. Or to give up on finding a happy, long-term relationship cause they always end up leaving in the end for ‘[your] lack of honesty about who you are and who you love’. While there are some who, according to Ted Casablanca, Perez and their ilk, are purely selfish and only care about their career, I’d bet they do care deep down. So, show them some compassion and don’t force them out of the closet, for cryin’ out loud. I’m glad he seems to have seen the light.

  5. you know you’re an awful person when you get chastised by Lord Voldemort:

    “In spite of my efforts for world domination, there still remains freedom of speech. He is entitled to say whatever he wants. However, to turn around & chastise others for writing “belittling, hateful comments” while calling teen celebrities promiscuous & other celebrities ugly or fat makes him a hypocrite. ”

    so the rest of that awesome tweet can be read here: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/6c6i4d

  6. Pingback: Perez Hilton Vows To Change His Bullying Ways. | Defamer Australia

  7. I’m cautiously optimistic too. I’ll begin to believe it when he changes the category for Samantha Ronson from what it is now – saMAN Ronson.

    He doesn’t get it – or maybe he now does, how much this kind of thing affects the people he’s attacking. I’ve been lucky enough to be around people in the public eye for most of my life, and with one acquaintance I can think of in particular, the amount of hurt this person felt over this kind of crap was so palpable that I felt hurt for my friend.

  8. Good job Riese. You are working on making a difference and that matters!

    For me, I am waiting for an apology to Samantha Ronson from Hilton. That is the most extreme case of nonstop hatred I have ever seen a gossip person post on a celebrity. It even surpasses the creepy Ted Casablanca and the bile spewing Michael K. — both gay bloggers, oddly enough, who seem to have some irrational anger towards women who wear denim pants, concert T-shirts, have short hair and date hot women.

  9. I’m feeling so sappy and emotional and inspired right now… riese and autostraddle, you’re really changing the world. and, you know, a lot of us have been saying that for like, a year now but whenever I said it, I meant, like *our* world, you know? Like the smaller, more reachable queer community… and so much of this site for me was about finding other people like me, like us.. and communicating and helping each other grow and learn and soak up each other’s awesomeness (i literally can’t go a day without quoting mean girls)… but this is like, fucking mainstream. this is reaching his target audience… it’s really really going to change shit. I just can’t believe you got through to him, riese, really. and it feels sort of funny, using ‘perez hilton’ and ‘changing the world’ in the same sentence, but the fact of the matter is that millions of people visit his site, and his actions and words really do matter, because of how many people follow him, or even look up to him. so this is huge.

    it’s just so amazing, that autostraddle played a huge part (maybe the ENTIRE part) in this!!! I love you all.

    And because, like I said, I’m ridiculously emotional right now, I’m ending my comment with this:
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has

  10. Yay, a win of some kind. Good work!

    Interestingly, I read this previously in an article from a local news source which contained the sentence ‘DeGeneres, one of Hollywood’s most prominent lesbians who is “married” to actress Portia de Rossi…’ so y’know. wtf.

    • Ever notice how similar a lot of gay guys are to ubermacho, football-watchin’, hetero guys? When a gaggle of gay guys sits around commenting on people’s clothes, judging, etc., you could basically swap out the clothes for a tv set with football on it, and it’s the same thing. Queeny marys sitting around bitching and gossiping = brute cavemen yelling @ Monday Night Football.

  11. I’m skeptical. I don’t think the man has any tact or knows where to draw the line. Things he finds funny, most people find insulting. But, I do appreciate Autostraddle bringing to his attentions what was so painfully obvious to everyone. I really hope he changes his douchebag ways.

  12. You are a superhero to me, Riese. Seeing your passion and how you use your ingenious and lyrical adeptness to exact change is awesome. Who would have thought a stranger could influence Perez to reconsider his ways…but you identified a problem, argued your point with justification and tact, and even in the face of his antagonism, stood to your convictions, even stroking his ego a little….and ultimately got him to honestly consider your rationale and change! That he basically rehashed your words verbatim in his interviews with Ellen and in his video is testament to the power of your message and eloquence of your voice.

    I am infinitely impressed by what you do and all you accomplish. Autostraddle is so much more than an online news source/magazine. This is a movement. Thank you for being such an inspiration. So much love.

  13. You changed the world with your words. The universe seems like a nicer place right now. And gosh-dang, words are so important. Whatever happens now, at least we’re learning about how gosh-dang important words are again <3

  14. I heard the news about Perez while having breakfast at Seattle for BurlyCon and I thought of you all! Glad to read about what happened behind the scenes.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.