Perez Hilton Repents
By Noah Michelson
If you woke up this morning and the air felt a little chillier than usual, it might be because hell has just frozen over. Today, Perez Hilton will appear on Ellen DeGeneres's show to announce that he is changing his stripes and giving up attacking celebrities on his eponymous website, arguably the most infamous and popular entertainment blog on the Internet.
The change comes as a result of the recent wave of LGBT suicides caused by bullying in American high schools and colleges. These tragedies have deeply affected Hilton and moved him to become a driving force behind the It Gets Better viral video phenomenon. Furthermore, they've made him reevaluate his own actions, which have often been portrayed as their own kind of bullying.
We caught up with Perez as he took his dog for an early morning walk to chat about being bullied as a kid, his friendship with Lady Gaga, why he stands behind his decision to leak the Dustin Lance Black nude photos, and why even though he's losing the snark, he'll never abandon the sass.
Out: Were you bullied as a kid?
Perez Hilton: Of course I was bullied as a kid. And a lot of people ask if I began my website as a way to get revenge on those who bullied me but I don't think I was bullied any more than most kids are in middle school and high school. I was bullied just as much for being very overweight as I was for being gay and in the closet. But being bullied allowed me to find my core group of friends. Being bullied allowed me to seek out and surround myself with like-minded people. I joined the drama club. I joined the forensics team. Those were places where all the other closeted gays were hiding at the time. They didn't bully me and they didn't make me feel bad. So it wasn't all negative and it wasn't unbearable to the point where I was contemplating suicide. Although I have been that low in my life and I have suffered that kind of depression before.
Was there a specific moment from the last couple weeks that made you want make this change?
It was me not viewing myself as a bully and viewing myself as a blogger -- an entertainer -- someone who talked about adults that chose to be in the public eye and all these justifications that I kept making for myself. 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. So, I need to take the steps to do things differently. I can't be that which I'm criticizing in others. I can't be that which I'm denouncing in others. And there is going to be a lot of skepticism and that's OK because I deserve that. Time will tell and I've already begun this change. Like I said to Ellen -- I'm not trying to lobotomize myself. I'm 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. I can still be critical and sassy and fun and funny and smarter and just do it in a different way that I can feel good about myself. Like I also said on Ellen -- I want to be able to go to the rallies and marches and events within our community -- like I have been and will continue to do -- but I don't want to feel like gay people are ashamed of me or embarrassed by me or thinking I'm hurting other gay people. That's not who I am. That's not my intention. I don't want to hurt other gay people. I don't want to hurt young gay kids.
One of the things that I appreciate about you is that you hold people accountable for things.
I'm still going to be critical. Absolutely.