After Several Suicides of Gay Teens, the Online Gossip Star Says He’s Kicking the Mean Habit — But Can He Do It?

LOS ANGELES (CBS) – The internet may have just gotten a little safer — for celebrities anyway. That’s because Perez Hilton, the giant of online gossip, has decided he’s going to be nice.

In a recent video, Hilton says, “I am very happy, scared, and ready to make this video… I don’t want to be a bully. I don’t want to be called a bully…”

One magazine declared hell had just frozen over as Hilton, a celeb gossip monger, unveiled his kinder, gentler persona.

The openly gay and self-declared queen of all media boasts that his popular website is Hollywood’s most hated. He regularly calls Jennifer Aniston “Maniston,” Sienna Miller “Sluttienna.” He controversially “outed” gay performers like Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris. He doodles on celebrity photos, adding cocaine, and linked to a photo of an underage Miley Cyrus, and claimed she wasn’t wearing underwear. He even posted that Michael Jackson’s death was a hoax.

But Hilton says it’s time to make a change. He explained that to a skeptical Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday.

DeGeneres said, “A lot of people don’t believe you. But if you say you want to change, I think it takes a big person to look at themselves and say, ‘I’ve done wrong, and I want to change. So I want to listen to what you have to say.”

Hilton responded, “I’m going to do things differently on my website than I have in the past. I’m not going to call people nasty nicknames. I’m not going to go the mean route.”

So why the sudden change of heart? CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reported on “The Early Show,” Hilton is doing it all because of the recent tragedies in the gay community.

Perez says it’s because of the recent rash of suicides among gay teens, including the cyberbullying and death of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi last month.

Hilton told DeGeneres, “Over the last week and a half two weeks, I’ve been doing everything I can to bring awareness to the issue of the teen suicides and gay bullying. And in doing so, a lot of people have called me a hypocrite.”

Hilton may be dropping the mean, but he promises to keep the sass — but will his fans remain?

Kristin Benson, editor of, said, “The important thing about Perez Hilton is he’s established himself as this brand, this mean snarky brand, and if he takes away the mean and the snarky, is his brand left? We’re going to have to see.”

Perez says he doesn’t care if he loses some of his audience. It’s more important to be part of the solution — not the problem.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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