By Jeremy Kinser
Originally published on Advocate.com September 21 2012 10:15 AM ET
Socialite Paris Hilton has issued an apology after she was caught calling gay men "disgusting" and saying that "most of them probably have AIDS" and now says they're "the strongest and most inspiring people" she knows.
It was a full day of attempted damage control for the heiress-turned-reality celeb.
When the story broke, Hilton's spokesperson told website RadarOnline, "Paris Hilton’s comments were to express that it is dangerous for anyone to have unprotected sex that could lead to a life threatening disease. The conversation became heated, after a close gayfriend told her in a cab ride, a story about a gay man who has AIDS and is knowingly having unprotected sex. He also discussed a website that encourages random sex by gay men with strangers. As she was being shown the website her comments were in reference to those people promoting themselves on the site. The cab driver who recorded this, only provided a portion of the conversation. It was not her intent to make any derogatory comments about all gays. Paris Hilton is a huge supporter of the gay community and would never purposefully make any negative statements about anyone’s sexual orientation.”
Later in the day a source close to Paris sent a message to blogger Perez Hilton explaining the comments were taken out of context and the audio had been altered by the cab driver who secretly recorded the conversation between Paris and her gay male friend.
"I want to say how sorry I am," Hilton tweeted last night, saying she couldn't fit her entire apology in a single tweet so she provided a link to the website for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Her full apology reads:
As anyone close to me knows, I always have been and always will be a huge supporter of the gay community. I am so sorry and so upset that I caused pain to my gay friends, fans and their families with the comments heard this morning. I was having this private conversation with a friend of mine who is gay and our conversation was in no way towards the entire gay community. It is the last thing that I would ever want to do and I cannot put into words how much I wish I could take back every word.
HIV/AIDS can hurt anyone, gay and straight, men and women. It's something I take very seriously and should not have been thrown around in conversation.
Gay people are the strongest and most inspiring people I know. It is so wrong when people bully or put down others for being gay. No one should have to go through that. Again, I am so sorry from the bottom of my heart and I feel absolutely horrible. I hope that everyone can accept my apology and know that it is not who I am or how I feel in any way.
Thank you for taking a minute to read this, I love you.