Recently, there has been quite the reckoning over how the media and society treat celebrities and influencers. Perez Hilton was one of the leading influencers when it came to haunting young famous women and LA ‘It Girls’ thanks to his up-to-the-minute celebrity gossip blog.
Whether he was detailing their very public spirals out of control or drawing cartoon penises on their photos, Perez Hilton was there to capitalize on everyone else’s drama. Now the father of three says that he’s sorry for his past cruelty and is working to remake the world of celebrity gossip.
Hilton has apologized for his years of cruelty but does he deserve forgiveness?
For several years in the mid-aughts, Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira Jr., was the most talked-about celebrity blogger in the world. And although his readership has taken a severe dive, his posts frequently pop up and remind the public that he was once the Queen of Mean.
“I’ve apologized countless times,” Hilton, who lives in Los Angeles with his mother and three children, told Buzzfeed News. “A lot of what I did during that time was reprehensible and toxic. But that wasn’t everything. I wasn’t just nasty and mean and cruel and hurtful. I was also positive and supportive.”
But Hilton admits that he knew even at the time that what he was writing and what he was putting out into the universe was wrong. “Attention was my drug. A drug addict, in the moment, knows what they’re doing is wrong. Most of them wish they weren’t using, but they’re doing it anyway,” he tells Buzzfeed News.
Through all the writing and posts, Hilton has a lot to be sorry for.
One of his actions that gets him the most criticism is his obsession with outing famous men, including Lance Bass, Neil Patrick Harris, and Dustin Lance Black. “Two years before I came out, I was really bullied on the internet by bloggers, that’s when Perez Hilton just started and was just really malicious against me,” Bass said in 2007.
Despite his efforts, his cruel reputation continues to follow him.
Regardless of his mea culpas and attempts to reform both himself and the content on his site, his mean-spirited reputation has always followed him. That was made all the more clearer following the release of Framing Britney Spears.
The film really focused on her relationship with the press and paparazzi which was always waiting for her to slip up and get it on camera. Although Hilton wasn’t mentioned in the film, his old posts about Spears began resurfacing on Twitter. One, titled “Britney’s Breakdown,” ends with, “Take her children away!!!!!!” repeated five times in bold. Thanks to the explosion of social media apps and everyone having a camera at their fingertips thanks to smartphones, the celebrity gossip industry has changed a lot. Now, it’s impossible for a gossip blogger’s work to go unchecked. And now, most people even consume their by-the-minute celebrity updates on Instagram accounts like deuxmoi and The Shade Room.
Recently, there has been quite the reckoning over how the media and society treated Britney Spears in the early 2000s. A scandalous New York Times documentary premiered earlier this month that gave a new perspective on the media’s treatment of Britney Spears.
The documentary, entitled “Framing Britney Spears”, chronicles the media’s inhumane and unethical coverage of the fragile popstar in her darkest moments.
And one media figure in particular is catching a lot of heat for his past behavior: Cuban-American gossip blogger Perez Hilton.
At one point in the documentary, viewers see a 2005 clip of Perez Hilton (born Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr.) seemingly taking delight in Britney’s pain. “Thank you, Britney Spears,” he says while appearing on a talk show. “Being bad is good for my business.”
The clip seemed to spark the public’s collective memory of Perez’s excessive cruelty towards Spears in the glory days of his blog.
Many recognized Perez as the symbol of the 2000s culture of cruelty that drove Britney Spears towards her breaking point.
At the peak of his popularity, Perez would publish blog posts accusing Britney of being an “unfit mother”. Right after Heath Ledger died he sold t-shirts that read: “Why couldn’t have it been Britney?” He would criticize her body, her looks, her mental health, her music, and her parenting skills ad nauseum.
As Wesley Morris, a culture critic from the New York Times and someone who was interviewed in the documentary, put it: “There was too much money to be made off of her suffering.”
Both viewers of the documentary and Britney fans alike took to Twitter to denounce Perez and demand he apologize.
Perez appeared on “Good Morning Britain” on Monday to express his “regret” for his actions, while also seeming to defend his past behavior.
Having the audacity to wear a Britney Spears t-shirt, Perez said: “I regret a lot or most of what I said about Britney as I’m sure Piers [Morgan] would if he were here, the things he’s said in the past. Thankfully, hopefully, many of us get older, we get wiser.”
Perez then went on to compare his experience to that of Diane Sawyer’s–someone who also caught flack for her disrespectful interview tactics with a young Spears. “You know, somebody that was talked about in this documentary briefly, Diane Sawyer–respected journalist, a good woman–but many people were painting her out to be a villain,” he said.
“I think a lot of fans and folks just want to blame this person and that person and…it’s not as simple as that. There are real mental health issues at play with Britney Spears.”
Possibly. But it’s also possible that her mental health issues might not have spiraled so out of control if vicious bloggers like Perez Hilton would’ve just left her alone.
Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the movie biz is run by white folks. Yes, it sucks, but the good news is there are some truly kickass people of color out there paving the way for the rest of us.
It’s old news that Hollywood has a huge diversity problem (#Oscarsowhite, anybody?). Even beyond the Academy Awards, this year’s Cannes Film Festival left a LOT to be desired when it came to Latino representation.
But, thankfully, that is beginning to change and more and more directors claim their spot in the directors chair and we are so grateful for the representiaon they’re bringing younger audiences because representation matters.
Moreover, many Latin-American directors particularly are seeing success both with critics and at the box office with such movies as Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant dominating the box office while also taking home numerous awards. Here are some of our favorite directors and a few lesser-known ones that you should add to your watch lists.
Adrian Molina has a breadth of experience under his belt, particularly in animation. He’s worked at Pixar Animation Studios on Toy Story 3 and in other capacities on Monsters University, Ratatouille and The Good Dinosaur. But it’s perhaps his work on Coco, which he co-wrote and co-directed, that e all know best.
Since Coco’s debut in theaters in Mexico, it has become the country’s highest-grossing movie in cinematic history. In the U.S., Coco, whose voice talent includes actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Edward James Olmos and Benjamin Bratt, has been a champion at the box office, coming in No. 1 three weekends in a row and garnering major Oscar buzz.
Born and raised in San Francisco to Mexican immigrant parents, director Aurora Guerrero graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Psychology and Chicano studies. She dabbled in shorts for several years before directing an episode of Ava DuVernay’s groundbreaking series Queen Sugar, continuing DuVernay’s promise to have every episode directed by a woman of color.
Guerrero is gearing up to direct a feature she’s writing entitled Los Valientes about a gay, undocumented immigrant who finds his life turned upside down after traveling to a conservative Pennsylvania town.
Though the Mexican director Alfonso Arau started out as an actor (some of his acting credits include The Wild Bunch, Three Amigos, and Romancing the Stone), he eventually transitioned to directing.
Arau’s two most well-known works are 1992’s Like Water for Chocolate and 1995’s A Walk in the Clouds. The former was based on the novel written by Arau’s then-wife Laura Esquivel, became the highest-grossing non-English-language film ever released in the United States at the time, and even got nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Gloria Calderon Kellett
Perhaps one of her biggest credits is her work on One Day at a Time, which she created, wrote, executive produced, and even acted as co-show runner for the Netflix series.
Kellett grew up in Beaverton, Oregon, and San Diego, California, and earned her degree in Communications and Theater Arts from Marymount University. She’s not stepping into directing without some experience. She directed two shorts a few years ago, Mouthbreather and Blind, and an episode of the webseries Misery Loves Company in 2017. Earlier this year, Kellett announced she is developing a new TV show for CBS, History of Them.
Mexican-Guatemalan-American filmmaker Marvin Lemus got his start in digital production, working on viral videos and marketing campaigns, including those utilized in the film Dear White People. After dabbling in shorts Lemus transitioned to creating his first series. The result was a web series titled Gente-fied.
Along with his countrymen, Alfonso Cuarón has distinguished himself as one of the greatest directors of our time. Working in different genres, Cuarón has been both critically and commercially successful as well as becoming the first Latin American to win the Academy Award for Best Director.
Cuarón’s directorial debut was 1991’s Solo con tu pareja, but his first success came with his second film – A Little Princess which was nominated for two Oscars. Y tu mamá también was a massive hit and got nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Cuarón followed these achievements with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban which got two Oscar nominations and is still considered to be the best installment in the franchise. His latest films, Gravity and Roma, both received multiple award nominations winning seven and three Oscars respectively. For both films, Cuarón won the Best Director award just like Iñárritu did.
Guillermo del Toro
It’s no secret that Guillermo del Toro is close friends with the two other prominent Mexican directors working today (Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón) with the trio being collectively known as “The Three Amigos of Cinema”. And their acclaim and success stem from their immense talent and hard work.
Del Toro has directed big-budget movies like Blade II and Hellboy (for which he also directed a sequel later on) before directing critically-acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth which went on to be nominated for multiple awards. del Toro also directed Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, and the Academy Award-winning The Shape of Water.
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Undoubtedly, Alejandro González Iñárritu is among the most successful directors working today – not just in his own country but internationally. Moreover, this worldwide success is probably tied to the fact that Iñárritu loves telling international stories and his films always have diverse casts.
Iñárritu’s directorial debut was 2000’s Amores perros which was the first installment in his Trilogy of Death and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The two films that followed were also a part of the trilogy: 21 Grams which was nominated for two Oscars and Babel which won the Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Drama, and got seven Oscar nominations.
But the most successful works of Iñárritu are definitely his two latest films: Birdman which won four Oscars and The Revenant which won three Oscars. In both cases, Iñárritu took home the Best Director award.