Perez Hilton: Most hated man in gossip wants to apologize for mocking celebrities and outing them without consent
Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. founded one of the most notorious tabloids online, poking fun at celebrities and mocking their photos. He would soon come to be known professionally as Perez Hilton, as would his widely popular gossip website. However, he only later realized the "antipathy" he'd built against himself among those he targeted.
Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi grabbed headlines in 2010 as he committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. It came after Clementi's roommate recorded him on a spycam kissing a man and invited others to watch. In light of the tragedy, writer Dan Savage started a campaign 'It Gets Better', and Perez offered his support for the same. Little did Perez fathom the backlash he would receive, especially since he had used his massive reach to out a number of celebrities without their consent, Page Six reported. “People wrote such hateful comments that I couldn’t bring myself to read even half of them,” the 42-year-old writes in his new memoir, 'TMI: My Life in Scandal'. “The strength of the hate storm really shook me, and popped the bubble I had been living in. I realized for the first time that it wasn’t just a handful of people who disliked what I did — it was the overwhelming majority. I finally understood that the things I wrote genuinely hurt people, and deeply.”
In 'TMI', Perez reveals how he moved in the corridors of Tinseltown and often weaponized his site against those he felt wronged him. The memoir is reportedly a mea culpa of sorts. Perez recounts how he met with Ariana Grande and her mother in 2011, offering to manage or at least consult on her career. However, they turned him down. “I was really hurt, so for years afterward I was super petty toward Ariana on my website and on social media. I regret that," he confesses.
Several celebrities hated his guts, one of them being Roseanne Barr, who he says said something about “wanting to kidnap me and take me to her farm in Hawaii so she could say I was trespassing and then shoot me.” “I didn’t care,” Perez writes. “That was partly down to being young and believing I would be successful forever, but it was also because I thought I was happy. In reality, I was drowning in negativity. I was stuck playing a part, too afraid to change, too afraid of losing my readers if I suddenly stopped being so mean.”
Perez says he began to realize the damage he was causing after Will.I.Am's manager knocked him unconscious at a Toronto awards show party in 2010, according to Page Six. Will reportedly asked him, “Why’d you disrespect me, man?” to which Perez responded, “I don’t have to respect you. You’re such a f–. Stop being such a f——t.” And before he realized, he was knocked unconscious by Will's manager.
Perez is now a father of three and still runs his tabloid website. However, he says he's trying to make it "kinder and gentler." “One of the many things I regret is that I hurt so many people by giving them nasty nicknames, and above all that I was unkind to the children of celebrities,” he writes in 'TMI'. “I now see that I never needed to be so mean or cruel. I would’ve been fine anyway, just by being who I was.”