Perez Hilton is being condemned by Britney Spears fans for his “reprehensible” coverage of the singer in the years leading up to her breakdown.
The gay gossip blogger made a name for himself in the ’00s for his breathless coverage of celebrities’ personal lives – and Spears frequently found herself in the firing line. Hilton once branded her an “unfit parent” and repeatedly joked about her mental state.
In 2008, following Heath Ledger’s death, Perez Hilton controversially sold t-shirts with a picture of the actor in Brokeback Mountain along with the message: “Why couldn’t it be Britney?”
On Wednesday (23 June), Hilton apologised to Britney Spears during a live stream on YouTube for his “past coverage and treatment of her” after the singer broke her years-long silence about her conservatorship in a Los Angeles court hearing.
“First, I’m sorry to Britney Spears. I’ve apologised so many times and I will continue to apologise for my past coverage and treatment of her,” Hilton said.
He continued: “I have been getting so much hate and bullying from people who were and are upset at how I used to talk about Britney Spears. So my message to all of those people is, f**k 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? It doesn’t! Thankfully I fully own how reprehensible I used to be back in the day. I can see it, I can acknowledge it, and I carry with me deep shame and regret, especially knowing that I contributed to Britney Spears’ pain.”
Hilton went on to apologise to the Free Britney movement for not believing them and went on to explain that he did “a lot of soul searching” last year following a “breakdown”.
In December 2020, Hilton personally reached out to Britney Spears to apologise for his mistreatment of her. He told fans that he will “continue to apologise” and said the way he spoke about the star in the past will haunt him for the rest of his life.
“All of the people just being so truly vicious to me today, like I get it, listen, you can have an opinion about what I did in the past.
“You can have a strong opinion, but calling me all these awful names and sending me hate and death threats and all these things that I’ve been subjected to today, that makes you no better than I was in the past, and I am better than I was in the past.
“I am not the old Perez. I will not be defined by how you view me. I know who I am, I know that I’m a good person, I know that I have a big heart. And I believe you Britney, and I believe you, the Free Britney movement as well,” he added.
Britney Spears fans have labelled Perez Hilton a ‘bully’
Hilton has faced resounding backlash from many fans of Britney Spears over the video, with some suggesting that he will never be able to adequately apologise for the things he said about the singer in the years before her breakdown.
Hilton’s comments came just hours after Spears made her voice heard on her controversial conservatorship for the first time in a virtual appearing at a Los Angeles court.
In an explosive speech, the singer labelled the conservatorship – which was put in place following her mental health crisis in 2008 – as “abusive”.
In a 20-minute testimony, the singer revealed that she wants to get married and have another baby with boyfriend Sam Asghari, but her conservatorship won’t allow her to do so.
She also said she was forced into a mental health facility against her will after she pulled the plug on her Las Vegas residency, even being pushed to take the drug lithium when she didn’t want to.
“I want to end the conservatorship without having to be evaluated,” Spears said. “I want to petition to end the conservatorship.
“I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive. There are thousands of abusive conservatorships.
“It is my wish and dream for all of this to end. I want my life back.”
Spears’ speech sent shockwaves across the world after months of feverish speculation about the singer’s feelings on the complex legal arrangement, which allowed her father to control almost every aspect of her life.
Her testimony also gave credence to the Free Britney movement, a fan-led initiative that has been calling for years to have the singer released from her conservatorship and granted autonomy over her life once more.