The Death of Michael Jackson (& Perez Hilton’s Career)
Sad, sad, sad.
This week a legend died. When I first saw the reports I thought it was a joke… the Hubster and I sat at our computers and updated major news websites every 60 seconds as we watched the horrible news unfold. I know he was far from a perfect person–*ahem, child molestation accusations*–but his music was iconic, and I love it.
But what I find even more sad than his death was the initial reaction of a certain celebrity blogger: Perez Hilton. I haven’t said anything about all the Perez drama of recent days but I think it’s time.
As you know, I “broke up” with Perez last fall because I felt his writings about Prop 8 were extremely hypocritical. I understand that he is a passionate person, but in his effort to “stop the spread of hate” I strongly felt that he was doing more to promote it. But that’s another story.
When news broke that he had been assaulted by Polo Molina (Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas’ manager) I thought that a) his Twitter outcry was ridiculous–there are other ways to achieve the attention of the police; b) his choice of insult to hurl at Will.I.Am was despicable, especially coming from him (a self-proclaimed activist for the gay community); and c) his 11-minute video explanation of the attack / public statement was nothing more than yet another cry for attention. While I not really a big Perez fan, I was deeply saddened that this fight escalated to violence and that he was assaulted. Regardless of how the media portrays it, assault is assault, and it shouldn’t have happened. You can see the “war of words” between Perez and Will.I.Am here.
I have to agree with his passionate plea that violence is never the answer, and I disgree with those that feel that he “deserved” what he got. I also have to give him props for at least being honest about his insult and why he chose to say what he said, although I vehemently disagree with his reasoning. When the public response to the whole situation turned out to be a little less than supportive (if you read the comments on his video you’ll see what I mean) he later issued an apology (of sorts) and announced that the $25 000 he is suing for in damages would be donated to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Nice gesture, right?
One tiny problem: they don’t want it.
You can read the entire official statement, but the gist of it is that because
“the lawsuit presumably involves the physical attack prompted by Mr. Hilton’s admitted use of an anti-gay slur, the Foundation will be unable to accept any funds obtained in such a manner.” –Judy Shephard
So what now? Perez has yet to announce where the money will be going or reply to the statement by the Matthew Shephard Foundation (unless I missed it somewhere).
Now you might be thinking: for someone who “broke up” with Perez last fall I sure know a lot about the situation AND there are even links to his website up there!
…how could I NOT be aware of what has been going on? Last week throngs of people were Twittering about his attack and somehow it became major news (thank you CBC for withholding and not giving in to Perez Press!). He has garnered an unbelievable amount of press in recent days, and slowly the tide of “Perez Love” is turning, especially after his first post about Michael Jackson.
I’m all for freedom of speech, but there is a certain line between being funny and being respectful and a growing crowd feels Perez Hilton went too far when news broke about Michel Jackson’s hospitalization. This post has since been removed from his website so you may or may not have seen it, and has been replaced by a much less controversial message of sympathy for his family. A few people captured screen shots that are floating around the internet–Pete Wentz posted this one on his official Twitter the day shortly after news broke that MJ had died in the midst of a heated Twitter-Tiff with Perez about his insensitivity.
Perez Hilton has always been known for his outrageous statements, but this time has he gone too far? Had it been any other celebrity would it have mattered as much, or is it because despite MJ’s personal problems his music is beloved by all? It just seems that this week Perez is under intense scrutiny, and people are calling for an end to his empire.
So, what do you think? Is his career over or will all this “bad” press make him more popular than ever?
**Edit: someone pointed out to me that in comparison to several other media outlets Perez has been rather respectful in not posting photos of MJ’s final moments or of his grieving family members… and I have to agree. He DID take down the post and replace it with his condolences, which I think was absolutely the right thing to do.
P.s. I couldn’t end without a tribute to MJ and my all-time favourite music video: Thriller. You can watch the actual video there, and here is my favourite clip from 13 Going on 30 (who didn’t know the Thriller dance as a kid? I mean, really.)
And lastly, a performance from Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Celebration. I actually watched this whole program with my mom and this was our favourite performance: