Can Perez Hilton Not Be Awful?

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It's generally accepted that celebrity blogger Perez Hilton is a gleefully terrible person. If he's not ruthlessly castigating celebrities, he's tweeting upskirt photos of underage women, falsely reporting the death of Latin American leaders, or tirelessly speculating on the sexual orientation of male celebrities. That said, he wants to change his "nasty" ways. In a YouTube video posted yesterday, Hilton made a confession:

I am very happy, scared and ready... I will no longer be calling Jennifer Aniston by the name I've been calling her for a longtime... I don't think it's right to make fun of kids anymore.… I still want to be me and be fun and be sassy without being vanilla, and without being malicious and hurtful and nasty .... Starting today, things will be different on my website .... I'm ready to grow, and I hope you'll grow with me.

Can Perez reinvent himself? If so, will he still be a successful blogger? Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams thinks maybe, just maybe, it's doable:

Without the inappropriate, hurtful stuff, what's left of Perez Hilton? ... The horrible draw of Hilton has likely been, for many of his regulars, his unbridled nastiness. So this moment has got to be scary for him – to consider the possibility that without his cloak of ugliness, he might be nothing. It's something few who are regularly unkind at the expense of others, who employ lazy sarcasm when sincerity and empathy would just not have the same zing, would risk finding out about themselves.

But while Hilton has built a tidy empire for himself as the queen of mean, he's also fortunate to already have a huge platform and an enviable level of access to the Hollywood world. If he can play nice and reverse his reputation as a brute, he could emerge from this smelling like a rose, and more successful than ever. ... And though his road-to-Damascus moment seems to have been very real, it could also ultimately prove well-timed. In 1994, Oprah Winfrey publicly decided to take her show out of the tabloid, sensational realm and focus on the positive, saying, "I'm not going to be able to spend from now until the year 2000 talking to people about their dysfunction." And look how well that worked out for her.

Is there hope for Perez? His video confession below:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.