Perez Hilton Controversies

Just a year ago, the Perez Hilton brand was expanding—to a fashion site, a record label, and TV opportunities. But his first two music acts have tanked. Is his influence fading?

Evan Agostini / AP Photo,Evan Agostini

Evan Agostini / AP Photo

Colin Farrell Lawsuit, 2005

In 2005, Colin Farrell's ex-girlfriend Nicole Narain tried to sell a copy of the duo having sex, but Farrell moved quickly to stop her. Hilton, of course, didn't miss a beat, quickly posting a link to the sex tape. Farrell immediately retaliated with a suit against the blogger. A judge forced Narain to take the tape down, and Hilton later claimed in an interview that Farrell sued "to make an example out of me" and said he "never wanted to get a legal letter."

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Samantha Ronson Lawsuit, 2007

In 2007, Hilton accused Samantha Ronson of planting cocaine in her girlfriend Lindsay Lohan's car. Ronson sued for defamation, but the judge not only ruled in Hilton's favor, Ronson was ordered to pay all of Hilton's legal fees. The tab? $86,000.

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Fidel Castro (Non) Death, 2007

In 2007, Hilton made a serious gaffe when he erroneously reported that Fidel Castro had died. The blogger, who is Cuban-American, not only wrote that Castro had died, but also that the Miami police would make an immediate announcement. Despite no word from the police, Hilton kept the post up all day, repeatedly updating to that the announcement was coming soon. Major news outlets took notice, and the rumor mill churned that the Cuban leader could possibly be dead, despite flat-out denials by Cuban officials. Hilton congratulated himself on being the first to report the news, writing "Pé was the first media outlet in the world to break the news of Castro's death.. We posted THIS ITEM on it last week!!!! A Cuban broke the story of the oppressive ogre's passing. We are soooo proud and happy!!... There's gonna be a big ol' party en Calle Ocho, mi gente!!" Unfortunately for Hilton, he was wrong.

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Photo Agency Lawsuit, 2007

The photo agency X17 decided it was fed up with Hilton " lifting" its photos to post on his site without paying—and sued him for $7.5 million in copyright infringement damages in 2007. The lawsuit claimed Hilton had willingly used X17's images on without permission, violating copyright law. The lawsuit proved so damaging to Hilton that he was dropped by his webhost, Crucial Paradigm, but he kept the site running under a new webhost, Blogards. Hilton eventually caved, issuing a statement that he would never use X17's photos again, and the matter was settled out of court.

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Universal Studios Lawsuit, 2007

Universal Studios took a different tack in its attempt to take down Hilton: The studio sued him in 2007 for posting topless Jennifer Aniston photos that were allegedly stolen from the set of her movie The Break-Up. Universal claimed the photos were "misappropriated and illegally copied." Although Hilton took aim at Universal for suing him on behalf of Aniston, the case is still up in the air.

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Twitter War with Demi Moore, 2009

The Miley Cyrus debacle wasn't Hilton's first foray into racy photos of underage girls. In 2009, he posted a link to photos of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis' 15-year-old daughter, Tallulah, dancing provocatively in a low-cut shirt. Demi Moore shot back, saying Hilton did not take child pornography laws very seriously. "This is not a game. Children should not be exploited. They must be protected," she tweeted. Hilton, of course, shot back, saying Moore was only calling more attention to her daughter's behavior, and insisted that he was "still waiting for you to retract your incorrect, libelous and defamatory statements...I would not let my 15 year old daughter dress like that under ANY context."

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Dustin Lance Black Sex Tape Scandal, 2009

After winning a Best Screenplay Oscar for Milk, Dustin Lance Black probably wasn't expecting a takedown from Perez Hilton. The blogger posted old photos of Black having sex with a man (without a condom). Black issued a statement condemning those who received a profit from the graphic photos.

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Perez vs., 2009

Plenty of people say they want to punch Perez Hilton in the face, but on June 21, 2009, someone finally did. At the after party for the MuchMusic Awards in Toronto, Hilton allegedly got into a verbal altercation with a member of the Black Eyes Peas' entourage after Hilton dissed the group's latest album. In the lobby of the SoHo Met Hotel, Perez Hilton and Black Eyed Peas member exchanged heated words, and Hilton allegedly called a "f—ing faggot." A physical altercation broke out, and Hilton tweeted: "I was assaulted by of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke." He continued to update about the alleged assault, continually claiming Will had hit him. The next day, Black Eyed Peas manager Liborio "Polo" Molina turned himself into the police for the alleged assault, and Hilton delivered a tearful 11-minute rant on in which he said Molina had been the one who assaulted him.

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Carrie Prejean Miss USA Controversy, 2009

As a judge at the 2009 Miss USA pageant, Hilton took his question for the contestants very seriously. Prior to the contest, he tweeted, "The question I came up with for the interview portion of Miss USA tonight is SO good!!" He then asked Miss California Carrie Prejean about whether she supported California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage. Prejean first stumbled on her words, but eventually declared, "And you know what in my country, in my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman." Hilton looked disgusted and gave her a low score; she eventually came in second to Miss North Carolina. Hilton later declared on his blog that his question cost Prejean the contest.

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Jaclyn Smith Death Hoax, 2009

On Sept. 22, 2009—only a few months after Charlie's Angels star Farrah Fawcett died—Perez Hilton broke the news that her co-star had died after an apparent suicide. Hilton blogged that the actress had been airlifted via helicopter to San Pedro, Honduras, after shooting herself in the head. A tragic story—except it was complete fiction. News outlets picked up the story, and Smith was forced to announce publicly that she was, in fact, alive and well at home with her family in Los Angeles. Hilton retracted the post.

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Michael Jackson Death: Publicity Stunt, 2009

When Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, media outlets scrambled to cover the tragic event. But Hilton had a unique angle: He reported that Jackson was not really dead and that the whole thing was a publicity stunt for his upcoming concert series, "This Is It." Hilton was slammed for being insensitive, but he stuck to his guns and later reaped some rewards: had record traffic—nearly 2 million unique visitors in one day—on June 26. Hilton also has since said he is not sorry for asking "Heart attack or cold feet?" about the singer's death, although he did later take down the offending post.

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Miley Cyrus Upskirt Photos, 2010

Perez Hilton made headlines last week when he tweeted a link to an upskirt photo of Miley Cyrus reportedly not wearing underwear. These kinds of photos are old hat for Hilton, but the Cyrus picture caused a storm of controversy because the star is only 17, and still legally a minor. Some speculated that Hilton could even face child pornography charges for distributing the photo, punishable with 15 years in jail. Although no charges have been filed, Hilton, of course, did not back down: He later appeared on the Joy Behar Show to announce that he had no regrets, and then, a week later, posted yet another upskirt photo of Cyrus.