Perez Hilton regrets how he treated Britney Spears. Fans say he’s not that innocent
Add Perez Hilton to the growing list of celebrities who are reassessing — and apologizing for — how they’ve treated pop star Britney Spears over the years.
Appearing on Sky News Wednesday, the gossip blogger (real name: Mario Lavandeira) told host Kay Burley that he “carries deep shame and regret” for how he mocked Spears on his website.
“I can’t say I was just young and dumb. I think we know a lot more. And initially, many folks, myself included, were shocked and alarmed and especially concerned for her young children,” he said.
“I know I did not express myself as well as I could have. I didn’t lead with empathy and compassion, which thankfully seems like most people now are understanding the severity of Britney’s situation. I absolutely apologize and carry deep shame and regret.”
Addressing the court for the first time in two years, pop star Britney Spears was candid and emotional at her conservatorship hearing Wednesday.
His apology comes on the heels of explosive news out of Spears’ Wednesday court hearing. Appearing via phone, the singer pleaded her case in a Los Angeles courtroom to make it clear that she wants to end her conservatorship that has been in place for the last 13 years.
After Spears revealed that she is not OK — “I’m so angry it’s insane,” she said at one point — celebrities including Cher, Mariah Carey, Andy Cohen, Halsey and others immediately voiced their support online.
Halsey spoke for many when she tweeted, “I hope with my whole heart she is awarded freedom from this abusive system.”
Meanwhile, Hilton’s sudden change of heart strikes some as dubious. After the premiere of the recent documentary “Framing Britney Spears,” which examined the artist’s history with the media and her public struggles, Hilton disparaged her mental health. In 2007, after the erratic public behavior that led to her conservatorship, he called Spears an “unfit mother” on his site.
He even made T-shirts that read “Why wasn’t it Britney?” after actor Heath Ledger died in 2008.
In his 2020 memoir, “TMI: My Life in Scandal,” Hilton referred to the “Oops! ... I Did it Again” singer as “an embarrassment” and said he thought her instability was due to her party lifestyle, rather than mental-health concerns.
Justin Timberlake, Diane Sawyer, Shawn Mendes and Katy Perry are being criticized for their past behavior in light of FX’s new Britney Spears film.
Now Hilton is working overtime to show that he’s fully behind Spears with posts using the #FreeBritney hashtag and other cheerleading content on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Spears’ fans aren’t buying it, though. As the #FreeBritney movement ramps up after Wednesday’s hearing, her supporters are neither forgiving nor forgetting Hilton’s past behavior.
“Do you not remember the career you built on her back? Or the ways you demonized her?” author Roxane Gay responded to one of Hilton’s latest tweets.
“Great question,” Hilton wrote back to Gay. “I answer that here.” He then linked to a nearly 20-minute explanation video he posted to YouTube on Wednesday.
While wearing a shirt with a closeup of Spears’ face — a startling contrast to his “Why wasn’t it Britney?” shirts — Hilton began his video by apologizing and said he had done that so many times in the past.
Although he initially seemed to be sincere, his apology quickly took a hostile turn.
“Today I have been getting so much hate and bullying from people who were and are upset about how I used to talk about Britney Spears,” he said. “And my message to all those people is: f— you! It just does not compute that you’re going to bully someone for bullying somebody in the past. How does that make you any better than what I did? I fully own how reprehensible I used to be in the day.”
He spent the rest of the video discussing Spears’ conservatorship case, claiming he’s team #FreeBritney and talking about how she’s a prisoner who deserves to make her own decisions.
While Britney Spears dismissed new documentaries about her life as reductive, fans doubt she even wrote her latest Instagram post. Not true, she says.
One commenter called Hilton out for his apology video, writing, “If you’re really sorry, put your money where your mouth is. Donate all of the *considerable* wealth you got through misogynistic bullying.”
Hilton replied: “I’ve spoken to my therapist about that concept. We both agree - no.”
Hilton’s not the only celebrity under fire for how they ridiculed Spears back in the day. After “Framing Britney Spears” resurfaced old clips, Justin Timberlake, Sarah Silverman, Diane Sawyer, former Maryland First Lady Kendel Ehrlich and others were criticized for their previous slights.
“I care for and respect these women and I know I failed,” Justin Timberlake wrote after drawing criticism in the wake of FX’s Britney Spears documentary.
In February, Timberlake issued a widely condemned statement to apologize for how he maligned Spears after their breakup nearly 20 years ago, particularly in his hit song “Cry Me a River.”
On Wednesday, Timberlake was among the first to rally behind Spears after her court testimony.
“After what we saw today, we should all be supporting Britney at this time. Regardless of our past, good and bad, and no matter how long ago it was…,” Timberlake wrote in a Twitter thread.
“No one should EVER be held against their will … or ever have to ask permission to access everything they’ve worked so hard for.”
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