Perez Hilton “regrets most” of the things he shared about Britney Spears during her mental heath crisis – but he fell short of apologising.
The gay gossip blogger made a name for himself in the 00s for his often ruthless take on celebrity life – and he has come under particular scrutiny in recent weeks for his treatment of Spears.
The “Toxic” singer was hounded by some media outlets in the lead-up to her 2008 breakdown, and Hilton’s website was at the fore. Following Heath Ledger’s death in January 2008, Hilton sold t-shirts showing Ledger in Brokeback Mountain alongside the message: “Why couldn’t it be Britney?”
During an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Monday (15 February), Hilton said he “regrets” most of his breathless coverage of Spears from that time.
“I regret a lot or most of what I said about Britney, as I’m sure Piers [Morgan] would if he were here about things he’s said in the past,” Hilton told presenter Charlotte Hawkins.
He continued: “Thankfully, hopefully, many of us get older and wiser.”
Perez Hilton defended Diane Sawyer over treatment of Britney Spears
Hilton went on to reference the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears, which shows the brutal way she was targeted by the media.
He defended broadcaster Diane Sawyer, who has been vilified for her treatment of Spears in a new infamous interview in which she grilled the singer on the end of her relationship with Justin Timberlake and her public image.
“Somebody who was talked about in this documentary very briefly was Diane Sawyer, respected journalist, a good woman, but many people are painting her out to be a villain,” Hilton said.
“I think a lot of people 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.”
He added: “We need to hold a mirror to ourselves because I look back as recently as last year, Kanye West had several [mental health breakdowns]. Last year, people weren’t leading with compassion towards Kanye West.”
Hilton is one of many journalists, broadcasters and commentators who has faced backlash in recent days over his treatment of Spears when her mental health was on a downward trajectory 13 years ago.
He branded her an “unfit parent” and made repeated jokes about her mental state.
Spears, arguably in the ultimate act of revenge, later hired Hilton to play the evil queen in a recorded introduction for her Circus tour in 2009. She later brought him on-stage during a show in 2014, suggesting that there was no bad blood, despite his coverage of her mental health issues.