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Richard Roeper Blog

Perez Hilton vs. will.i.am

Like millions of other entertainment fans who enjoy the voyeuristic guilty pleasure of reading and hearing about the lives of the rich and famous and bratty and beautiful, I often visit Perez Hilton’s web site for the latest juicy gossip. In five years, Perez has turned his site into a powerhouse and has become a celebrity himself. He’s got a book, he’s always on TV, and he’s often photographed in the company of the very celebs he writes about.

It’s amazing, really. Here’s a guy who writes some of the nastiest insults imaginable about public figures—-yet he’s invited to be a judge at the Miss USA pageant (Perez asked the infamous question about gay marriage to Carrie Prejean), he presents at awards shows, he glams it up with starlets and pop sensations.

You gotta figure some of these celebs would rather befriend Perez than get lambasted in on his site. Become one of his favorites and he won’t call you “fugly” or draw a penis on your picture. (Hey. We’re not talking about Dorothy Parker-level humor here.) Decades ago, Warren Beatty hired the great and much-feared film critic Pauline Kael to be a consultant for Paramount Pictures, thus defanging her. Kael quit after just a few months. In Chicago, a TV critic named Gary Deeb was viciously entertaining; then the ABC affiliate in Chicago hired him and he became the very blow-dried windbag he used to scorn. You see Perez doing more TV and getting more involved in the business, and you know he’ll be much more likely to stay away from ripping anyone who might help his own career.

On a side note: I’ve met Perez a couple of times and he’s always been nice to me. I’ve been mentioned on his site maybe three-four times. I do not have the career or the personal life that would make me constant fodder for his site, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Now that Perez has become a celebrity himself and he’s constantly mingling with the celebrity world, you had to figure it was only a matter of time before someone confronted him. That’s what happened over the weekend in Toronto, with Perez claiming he was attacked and will.i.am offering a rebuttal.

Perez talks about alleged attack

Perez is right: violence is never the answer. Nobody should be punching anybody. We all agree on that. But more than a few commenters on Perez’ site are saying he got what he deserved—that if you’re going to carve out a very lucrative career by tearing people down with comments that often cross the line, you can’t be shocked when you’re confronted by one of the people you’ve demeaned. In his video, Perez identifies himself by his real name because he wants us to understand he was attacked as a human being. Fair enough. But when he’s writing about the children of celebrities or he’s calling a woman “fugly,” he can’t rationalize it by saying they’re public figures and they knew the rules of the game. They’re human beings too, my friend.

 
 
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