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Paris Hilton says that had her sex tape been released today in this post-#MeToo era, she wouldn’t have been publicly shamed the way she once was.
In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment’s Kylie Mar, the This Is Paris documentary star, 39, agrees with that sentiment “100 percent,” adding, “The way I was treated,” when the tape was released without her consent, “was just so cruel and just so painful.”
She continues, “I'm thankful today that women ... would not be treated like that... Yeah, I wasn't lucky in that situation with the way the people were, but at least there's been change now.”
While promoting the YouTube Originals documentary, out Monday, the original influencer discussed that sex tape, which was recorded with then-boyfriend Rick Salomon in 2001 when she was about 20, fresh off of her traumatizing experience of alleged physical and emotional abuse at a therapeutic boarding school. Salomon — who she has called her first “real” boyfriend — sold the private footage, first leaked online in 2003 and later released under the title 1 Night in Paris, without Hilton’s permission just as she exploded to superstardom in TV’s The Simple Life. Hilton said recently that she was “naive” and “lost” at the time the tape was recorded and that she trusting the “wrong person” in Salomon, who went on to marry and divorce Shannen Doherty and Pamela Anderson.
Hilton has publicly claimed that she never received a penny from the sex tape, while Salomon, 13 years her senior, reportedly made $10 million the first year. (Hilton sued Salomon over the tape and he sued her and her family for defamation. So they settled both suits with Hilton receiving $400,000, which was donated to charity.)
As a result of going through that public humiliation, Hilton says she she’s developed thick skin.
“I just don’t pay attention to negativity anymore,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I feel that I’ve been through hell and back. Like what more can people say at this point? I can’t base my happiness on other people’s opinions who are strangers who I don't even know who are obviously not happy with their own lives.”
And for those who post mean messages on her social media pages, for which she has a combined 28 million followers on Instagram and Twitter, she doesn’t see them. She explains, “They get blocked and erased by my team, so I usually don't even get to see any [mean comments] because it’s all cleaned up before I [go online].”
This Is Paris shows what Hilton says is the real her.
“I am exactly like what you saw in the movie, but way happier now,” says the “That’s hot!” originator, who not only has unburdened by her long held secret of childhood trauma, but has found love again, with new beau Carter Reum, after enduring abuse in five different romantic relationships. (She didn’t name names but has dated a number of famous men, including Nick Carter.)
“I think everyone just was introduced to me ... through The Simple Life where I was playing this kind of blond airhead character,” says Hilton, who reportedly earns up to $1 million for her DJ gigs and makes millions off her stores around the globe and many fragrances. “So I can understand why people would assume that I am like that, but I'm not a dumb blonde. I'm just very good at pretending to be one” because “it kinda just stuck.”
In the interview, Hilton also talks about her plans to take down Provo Canyon School, which is the Utah treatment school where said she endured abuse from staffers screaming at her from morning to night and cutting her off from her parents, leading to panic attacks. She noted that not only is she in contact with other “other survivors from the school” but as well Oregon State Senator Sara Gelser, who has been trying to regulate these types of facilities.
Provo Canyon School has declined to comment publicly on Hilton’s claims about mistreatment there, noting the facility changed ownership in 2000 — after the star was enrolled there. However, other students have since made similar claims, including some who attended after the ownership change. So the facility said in a subsequent statement to KSL-TV in Utah, “We do not condone or promote any form of abuse. Any and all alleged/suspected abuse is reported to our state regulatory authorities, law enforcement and Child Protective Services immediately as required. We are committed to providing high-quality care to youth with special, and often complex, emotional, behavioral and psychiatric needs.”
On a lighter note, Hilton also weighs in on the end of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Lest anyone forget, Kim Kardashian was part of Hilton’s entourage — and employed as her closet organizer — before Kardashian’s own sex tape scandal, with Ray J, landed her and her family a reality show. Tune in to Hilton’s video interview above for her hot take on the end of the KUWTK era.
This Is Paris can be streamed starting Monday, Sept. 14: