Infamous gossip blogger Perez Hilton, who rarely hesitates to gleefully post embarrassing celebrity pictures, says the Jennifer Lawrence photo hacking incident has inspired him to no longer publish nude images of stars on his Web site.
That’s a surprising move for Hilton, whose extremely popular blog thrives on illicit images of Hollywood figures. In other words, it wasn’t too shocking when his was one of the sites to publish the stolen nude photos of Lawrence over the weekend, which made their way around the Internet after first surfacing on Web forum 4chan.
But Hilton wound up deleting the pictures on Sunday evening after an outcry from readers. He apologized via Twitter: “At work we often have to make quick decisions. I made a really bad one today and then made it worse. I feel awful and am truly sorry.”
Late Monday, Hilton also elaborated with a long apology on YouTube. He explained that he felt pressure to get the photos up quickly when it was clear this was going to be a big story. When people started calling him a “rapist” and “sex offender” for publishing the pictures, he realized it was the wrong move.
“I was never contacted by her publicist or her lawyer,” Hilton said in the video. “I genuinely took the photos down because I stopped and thought about it – and because of you. A lot of you let me know that my actions were wrong. I didn’t even stop to think about my actions.”
(Lawrence’s rep said in a statement there were plans to legally pursue anyone who distributed the photos.)
Hilton said that as a result of what happened to Lawrence, he will no longer post “intimate” photos of celebrities on his Web site. He used the example of just last week, when he published a nude Snapchat of 18-year-old Calum Hood (of pop band 5 Seconds of Summer) that went viral. Hood joked about the incident on Twitter, writing, “I’m still just a teenage kid learning from mistakes :)”
Either way, Hilton said, those types of photos are now off-limits. If he sticks to that statement, it would be a rare move for the tawdry celebrity blogging world, particularly for the likes of Hilton’s site, known as the place that publishes anything and everything (with his signature white scribbles all over photos).
“I will just reiterate that I’m genuinely sorry to Jennifer and anybody I’ve done this to in the past. And as a result, I’m going to make a change going forward, because I want to,” he said. “If I wanted all this to go away I would ignore this…But I want to do what’s right, I want to be better. I want to do better.”
Here’s the video and a transcript of Hilton’s full apology:
Hey everybody, this is Perez. A few days ago, Jennifer Lawrence was the victim of a really awful breach of her privacy where very intimate, nude photos of her surfaced online. They were either stolen from her phone or somebody hacked into her iCloud. I saw these photos, and then I was guilty of posting them on my site without really thinking a moment to think about the repercussions of my actions.
I was never contacted by her publicist or her lawyer. I genuinely took the photos down because I stopped and thought about it – and because of you. A lot of you let me know that my actions were wrong. I didn’t even stop think about my actions. I just wanted to get this out there as soon as possible.
I work in celebrity news. Part of my job responsibility is to try to be as quick as possible. I’m not justifying my behavior. I’m just saying that I honestly, sincerely didn’t stop to think. I wasn’t working with a team, I wasn’t consulting anybody, “Oh should we post this or not” I was on vacation. I was with my son and my mom in Vegas trying to have a good time, and then I’m like, “Oh my God, this huge story is happening. Let me get this out there, let me do this as soon as possible.”
And I made the wrong decision. And it was so wrong that some people are viewing me and calling me a rapist and a sex offender. I may not agree with that, but I need to really take a moment and let that sink in; because I don’t need to be liked by everybody, but I don’t want people thinking of me or viewing me in that light or calling me those things. Call me whatever, but I don’t want to be viewed as a sex offender or a rapist or anything like that.
I’m sorry to Jennifer Lawrence, genuinely, for my carelessness. And I’m going to view this as a good opportunity to learn from and grow from and make some changes going forward.
Just a week before the Jennifer Lawrence incident, I posted a video of a member of 5 Seconds of Summer and people weren’t calling me a rapist or a sex offender – I’m not even trying to make this about me. I’m not making this about me. I am going to stop talking because I feel like I’m going to shove my foot in the mouth even more.
I will just reiterate that I’m genuinely sorry to Jennifer and anybody I’ve done this to in the past. And as a result, I’m going to make a change going forward, because I want to. If I wanted all this to go away I would ignore this. That’s one of the rules of publicity: if you want to make things go away, ignore it. But I want to do what’s right, I want to be better. I want to do better.
So going forward I will not post any intimate photos like that of Jennifer Lawrence or Calum Hood from 5 Seconds of Summer. I just think it’s the right thing to do, for them, for me, for everybody, to not perpetuate that. And I’m still processing this all. I mean, I’m still thinking about it all, I’m still trying to find other ways, I guess, to make things right. I apologize to anybody that I’ve let down, I genuinely am trying to do better. This is one step in that direction. Thank you for watching this.