Perhaps the phrase we most associate with Paris Hilton. Beyond that, her name instantaneously calls to mind the classic ‘it-girl’, rich, blonde, party-girl, “famous for being famous” persona that she seemingly pioneered and worked to cultivate since she was a teenager.
But her documentary This is Paris works to complicate this narrative, showing her lounging around in sweatpants and hanging out with her dog. We also see her exploring the trauma she endured in “multiple" abusive relationships following alleged abuse at a boarding school as a teenager.
The documentary showed a glowing portrayal as Paris, as she thinks carefully about how the “character” she performs – as she called it – has affected young girls today, discussing her infamous “sex tape” and what it might have happened if it happen be released today. It was also clear that her allegations of abuse were credible and are highly sobering for the audience.
I was at first taken in by the film’s attempt to turn Paris from a caricature into an in-depth character, and it was only when I noticed her consistently wearing an NYPD baseball cap, did I look into her politics.
While it is true that in her heyday Paris was very unfairly vilified and ridiculed the press, in an effort to unpack our collective imagination of Hilton as a “dumb blonde”, the documentary misses something completely.
Hilton’s history of racist statements
Paris has in the past been caught on camera multiple times saying the N-word, which seemingly have not persisted in our collective memory of Hilton (until Jezebel investigated and outlined the timeline of these videos here.)
Many of the videos have since been completely scrubbed from the internet, according to the Jezebel report. One that still remains shows Paris and her younger sister dancing to “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G., and she says to the camera: “We’re like two N-words!”
Later in the clip, she seems to refers to some else at the party as a “f***in’ hoodlum broke, poor b*tch from, like, Compton. Public school bitch!” She then refers to a male friend she's with as a "f*****".
She was a Trump supporter (and family friend)
In 2017, Paris dismissed Trump's infamous “grab them by the pussy” comment and later asserted that the women who accused Trump of sexual assault “are just trying to get attention and get fame.”
She also voted for Trump in 2016 calling him a “very nice man”.
(Hilton now claims to be disillusioned with Trump’s presidency and supported Pete Buttigieg during the primaries.)
She called gay men ‘disgusting’
In 2012, Paris had to apologise for saying gay men were "disgusting" and "probably had AIDS." She was caught on tape after a friend showed her the app Grindr:
“Ewww! Gay guys are the horniest people in the world," Hilton said. "They're disgusting. Dude, most of them probably have AIDS. ... I would be so scared if I were a gay guy. You'll like, die of AIDS."
This is Paris is about personal evolution, and it's likely that Paris would consider many of these things to be a part of her distant past.
But in order to reckon with a person who has been at the forefront of our reality TV, influencer-culture, her problematic history cannot be glossed over, re-written or simply forgotten.