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17th Feb 2023

Paris Hilton says she was “villainized” by the press as a young woman

Sarah McKenna Barry

“The way I was treated – myself, Britney, Lindsay, all of us – it was a sport.”

Paris Hilton has said that she felt she was “villainized” and mocked “for sport” by the press during her early years in the limelight.

The heiress shot to fame when she starred in the reality series The Simple Life alongside Nicole Richie in the early to mid 2000s. At the same time, her personal life was under press scrutiny, and she received massive tabloid attention when she was arrested and jailed for violating her probation in relation to a reckless driving charge.

Paris also was scrutinised after an intimate video of her and her then-boyfriend Rick Saloman was leaked online.

Now, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Paris addressed how she was treated by the press and late night comedy shows during this period of her life.

“The way I was treated – myself, Britney, Lindsay, all of us – it was a sport,” she said. “We were just young girls discovering life, going out to a party. And we were villainized for it.”

This isn’t the first time Paris has addressed how the media treated her. In 2021, she recalled her infamous 2007 interview with David Letterman in which he quizzed a visibly uncomfortable Paris on her time in jail. On reflection, Paris said that Letterman was “purposefully trying to humiliate” her. She claimed that the only reason she went on his show was because it was agreed beforehand that her prison sentence was “off-limits”.

“It was just very cruel and mean,” she told E! News. “And after it ended, I looked at him and I said, ‘I’m never coming on the show again. You’ve crossed the line.'”

Paris then added that the talk show host “continually apologised” for his actions in the years that followed.

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