Reconsidering Perez Hilton
BY Jeremy Kinser
March 21 2011 5:10 PM ET
I don’t want to rehash the past, but a lot of people thought you crossed the line when you posted the explicit photos of Dustin Lance Black. If you had it to do over, would you still post them?
I don’t regret that at all. I’d do that again. There was a lot of hypocrisy around that. I’m still doing my job. There were naked photos of Vanessa Hudgens that leaked and of course I linked to them. I didn’t post them on the site because I don’t do that anymore, but I informed readers how they can view them if they want to. There was a lot of resentment from the gay community when I posted [the Black] photos.
What do you see as the reason for that?
They were expecting me to hold him to a higher standard than any other celebrity. And he was a celebrity at that point. He was an Oscar winner and had been on the cover of The Advocate.
How do you determine what you will and won’t write about now?
I’ll still talk about almost everything, but how I talk about it is different than before. I can criticize things and certain choices without criticizing certain people.
What’s the response from celebrities been like?
Fergie sent me a bouquet of flowers with a lovely note and Will.i.am and I had a lovely exchange backstage at the Grammys. It’s nice to have come full circle and have a certain closure with certain people. I just cover things differently now. I actually praised the Black Eyed Peas’ Super Bowl performance.
How has being nicer affected traffic for your website?
It hasn’t really affected it at all. It hasn’t gone up or down. I’m happy with that. I’m thrilled that I haven’t lost half of my readers. It’s inspiring to me and shows that the world is ready to go in this new direction. Hopefully others will follow suit.
You’ve turned your birthday party this weekend into a fundraiser for GLSEN. What’s behind this decision?
I was inspired by Adam Lambert who uses social media and his fans to raise money for his charity. I wanted to do that, as well. I want to use the opportunity of my birthday to encourage others to give to a charity that I think is important. Of course, it was important to me to choose a LGBT organization and one that works with young people. The Trevor Project is amazing, but they’ve been getting a lot of press whereas GLSEN, in the wake of all the teen suicides, hasn’t gotten as much. And their work is just as, if not more important than the Trevor Project. If GLSEN is doing all this work in schools and providing kids with a safe space in schools, then hopefully they won’t feel as suicidal and won’t need to call the Trevor Project.
How much money do you hope to raise?
I had set an initial goal for $5,000, which we’ve already surpassed. I think closer to the cut off date it will be closer to $10,000. It’s not just about money for me, it’s about raising awareness and the profile of GLSEN. People can donate at crowdrise.com/perezbirthday
How did you convince Justin Bieber to donate his hair?
Bieber approached me and said, “Hey, I’m giving my hair to a few different people and I want it to be used to raise money for charity.” I told his manager that I wanted to use it for GLSEN and asked if that was cool and he said totally. Justin feels very strongly that kids shouldn’t bully each other and was happy to help.