Perez Hilton, who built his name on insulting celebrities and even trying to out some of them, said he will change the direction of his website to raise awareness about teen suicides and gay bullying.
In an appearance on Wednesday's Ellen DeGeneres Show and in an online video, the celebrity blogger (né Mario Lavandeira), said he no longer wants to be seen as a hypocrite and a bully, as he continues his campaign to stop gay teen bullying.
"That's not how I want to be perceived and that's not what I want to put out there into the world. It was a big wake-up call that so many people saw me that way. So from now on I really want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem," Hilton told DeGeneres. "I'm not going to call people nasty nicknames. I'm not going to go the mean route. I'm going to force myself to be funnier or smarter... not out people. I have done all of those things in the past."Hilton's pledge follows a string of suicides by teens who had reportedly suffered anti-gay harassment and abuse, including Tyler Clementi, a 18-year-old Rutgers University student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his encounter with a man was secretly streamed online.
DeGeneres — who made her own plea to end teen bullying following Clementi's suicide — said she was advised not to have Hilton on her show when he asked to appear. She said she allowed it because she believes in giving second chances. The talk show host, who's married to Portia de Rossi, was skeptical and expressed worry that Hilton would fall back to his old, vitriolic ways — cutting comments, callous nicknames, crude drawings and outing people — once he starts losing money. Neil Patrick Harris and Lance Bass are just two of the stars who have come out following Hilton's posts about their personal lives."If I lose readers, I am OK with that. I am not motivated by money," Hilton said. "Everything in my heart tells me this is the right thing to do and I am hopeful my readers will grow with me and embrace this change."He added: "I am acutely aware that people are going to be skeptical of this and I deserve that. But everything will show itself in time."Do you think Perez Hilton can change?