UPDATE: GLAAD Responds to Statement By Perez Hilton Regarding His Use of Anti-Gay Slurs
Perez Hilton released another statement last night, regarding his use of anti-gay slurs:
"Words can hurt. I know that very well, from both sides of the fence. The other night in Toronto, after feeling physically threatened by a verbally abusive Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas, I chose the most hurtful word I know to hurl at him. I was in an out-of-the ordinary situaton and used a word that I would not utter under normal circumstances. My intention - however misguided it may have been - was to stand up for myself and tell this belligerent man that I had enough of his badgering and was not going to continue to let him berate and intimidate me. I wanted to hurt him with the word I chose, not anyone else. Unfortunately, the one who got hurt was me and, subsequently, a lot of other people. I wish none of it had happened. I can't take it back. I did what I thought was best at the moment to stand up for myself in a non-violent yet still assertive way. Clearly, I am not homophobic. Also, I am not nor have I ever claimed to be a spokesperson for the gay community. I am just speaking for myself, a gay man. One who is labeled "flamboyant" in the media. An American that is not granted equal rights under the law. I will continue to speak out for equality and I will continue to say things that upset both gay people and straight people. Who I am as a person and what I do for a living are two separate things. I've come to terms with all my incongruities and am proud of who I am and what I do. In closing, words can hurt. But words should not provoke someone to violence. Stripped away from the mask of Perez Hilton, I have been extremely bothered by the public reaction to my assault. Violence should never be condoned with such statements as "It's Karma" or "I don't believe in violence but….". In fact, several television and radio shows over the past couple of days echoed the sentiment "He had it coming". Would they have said the same thing if I was a woman? Would I have "deserved it" if I had been stabbed? Or shot? Or killed? I was attacked from behind without warning and repeatedly punched in the head in a cold, disgusting and unnecessarily violent manner by Polo Molina, the road manager for the Black Eyed Peas, who I did not even speak with that evening. I did not share any words with him and his assault on me was completely unprovoked. I feel like everything happens for a reason and I leave this traumatic experience as a person with more compassion. Specifically, there was an instance last year when actor Jesse Metcalfe was attacked outside of a Hollywood nightclub by a fellow entertainer. I did not condone the violence, but I did make light of that situation. I regret that. Sincerely. There are many ways to deal with disagreements, both good and bad, but violence is never the answer. Never. I now know that first-hand. It should not be condoned, promoted or accepted. No one "deserves" to be the victim of violence. No one "has it coming." NO ONE. And victims should not be ridiculed. I look forward to marching for equality in Washington, D.C. this October. And I look forward to standing up for my rights in a Toronto courtroom shortly, as I fully intend to seek every lawful remedy against the man that attacked me."
Today, GLAAD responded to this statement. Rashad Robinson, Senior Director of Media Programs at GLAAD:
First and foremost it is important to remember that the violence committed against Perez Hilton is absolutely unacceptable and ought to be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
Perez Hilton's acknowledgement that words can hurt is an important step in the right direction, and while his change of tone is welcome, he still seems to be justifying the use of the slurs.
A statement that stops short of apologizing for and disavowing the use of that slur doesn't get us where we need to be – these are vulgar anti-gay slurs that feed a climate of hatred and intolerance that continues to put our community in harm's way. When someone from our community uses a far-reaching media platform to promote these kinds of slurs, it sends a message that it's OK to use these dehumanizing words.
This is an important moment. Now that Perez Hilton has acknowledged that words can hurt, GLAAD calls on him to take this opportunity to reflect on his use of demeaning and defamatory language against many different communities on PerezHilton.com - not as Perez Hilton, but as Mario Lavandeira, an openly gay man who just went through a scary and traumatic experience.