There’s a reason why Perez Hilton, a Hollywood trash gossip blogger, is known as “the Queen of Mean.“Quite simply, he is. He’s a prominent member of the gay community and he takes considerable pleasure in dishing the venom on friend and foe.
Hilton was a celebrity judge at last Sunday’s Miss USA Pageant and, given his reputation, Miss California Carrie Prejean was clearly in a no-win situation when he asked her to voice her opinion on same-sex marriage.
The question: “Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit? Why or why not?”
Prejean’s response: “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offence to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”
The question was straightforward and the response was measured, respectful and not in the least offensive—especially since it was predicated by words that acknowledged, “we live in a land where you can choose . . .” But Hilton wasn’t satisfied—because it wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. So he went on a nasty campaign to have her burned at the stake for ex-pressing a different opinion.
He used the Internet to tell America, “She lost, not because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage, (she) lost because she’s a dumb b*tch.” In media interviews, he continued his vitriol by congratulating himself for holding back in his original comments: “I called her the ‘b’ word, and hey, I was thinking the ‘c’ word, and I didn’t say it.”
He said he expected her to “be politically correct” and to give opinions that unite and inspire. He then drew a penis over her picture on his website. Classy.
Hilton even admitted that Prejean’s answer cost her the Miss USA crown. She finished second. Pageant judge Alicia Jacobs confirmed the remarks cost her the top tiara, saying, “if I could have made her 51st runner-up, I would have.”
Lost in their demands for the “right answer” is the fact that Prejean’s comment reflects the feelings of at least 55 per cent of Americans (depending on the poll) and that her own state of California recently voted against it (by a 52-48 per cent margin). And that the very progressive President Barack Obama, who supports most gay rights, remains opposed to same-sex marriage.
Perez Hilton and his fellow liberals voted Obama into the White House. But even as they claim he will unite America and heal its wounds of division, they can’t find the tolerance to respect an opposing viewpoint. Instead, they chose to humiliate Prejean and characterize her as some sort of Neanderthal who has not yet “fully evolved.”
Beyond the obvious hypocrisy, the fact remains that the real issue has nothing to do with same-sex marriage or gay rights. Frankly, it doesn’t matter how she answered the question or even what the question was. The real issue is free speech and whether or not Americans have the right to speak their conscience and respectfully state their opinions in a public forum. Based on this, the answer would be no.
Hilton could have responded by using this as an opportunity for an open debate about the issue, and putting forth legitimate arguments to substantiate his position for same-sex marriage and against Prejean’s comments. Instead, he and others are attempting to influence the public by pretending that there is no debate—that their way of thinking is the only way of thinking. But so far the biggest shots in their arsenal are intimidation and profane remarks.
The genuine right of free speech is mocked if it only covers some opinions and dissenting opinions are silenced (especially in a public forum where the opinions are requested).
The fact that Miss California’s right to free speech has so easily been denied is the most frightening aspect of this story. But the irony is that Hilton, as a member of the media, relies on this very principle for his livelihood. Surely it won’t be long before his hypocrisy catches up with him.