As a queer person, coming out holds a lot of weight. From exploring your own identity and finding your own sense of community to issues of safety and navigating the fraught world of visibility, coming out, whether it be publicly, privately or not at all, is a highly personal decision that can have lasting ramifications. So when a person's ability to make that choice is yanked away from them, the consequences can be profound and violent.
Appearing last week on an episode of Red Table Talk: The Estefans on the topic of cyberbullying and slut-shaming, Lauren Jauregui opened up about her own experience being publicly outed by Perez Hilton. The former Fifth Harmony member was outed back in 2016 after a photo of her and her girlfriend at the time was "very innocently posted" by her aunt only wind up in the hands of fans and amplified by the infamous gossip blogger.
Jauregui went on to talk about feeling "like [her] own process was violated" before she was even ready to do so. "There was that whole looming thing of, 'What is my community going to feel about me? Are they even going to accept me?,'" Jauregui elaborates. "I know that my family obviously accepted me. But was that something that I was willing to deal with on a public scale?"
Hilton, on the other hand, showed little remorse for his action, telling People, "I'm genuinely sad that she was bothered by that, [but] I'm not gonna fake an apology." Having previously outed celebrities like Lance Bass, Clay Aiken and Neil Patrick Harris and eventually actually apologized for doing so, in Juaregui's case, Hilton placed the blame on the fans that originally made the photo go viral saying "It wasn't like I was given this piece of information or a photo and I was the first person to share it with the world; it was already trending by the time I chimed in."
Having previously promised to tell his side of the story on the next episode of Red Table Talk, Hilton is once again addressing the backlash. In a new clip from this week's show, Hilton, when prompted by host Gloria Estefan, can be heard doubling down, saying that "[he] doesn't view himself as outing her." Worse still, when confronted by Estefan's co-host and openly lesbian daughter, Emily, Hilton appears to dismiss this as women, "especially young women," being more sexually fluid adding "there's a lot of women who will make out with women and not identify as [lesbian]."
Not only is it a gendered double standard but the remark feeds into a long history of lesbian erasure, as Emily Estefan almost immediately calls out. Elsewhere, Hilton talks about his past as one the internet's most infamous gossip bloggers likening the attention he received from being the arbiter of "good" and "bad celebrity behavior" as akin to being addicted to drugs.
"I knew what I was doing was wrong. I would tell myself all these mantras, all these talking points, being that drug addict [I would rationalize]," Hilton explains. "I would say things like 'I'm just sharing with my friends online what I would share with my friends in private would talk about so why should I treat my public friends any different than my private friends?"
The episode, which centers around the topic of cancel culture, will also feature YouTube personality Gabbie Hanna confronting Hilton about his own "hypocrisy" and talking about the personal and professional cost that getting cancelled has had on her life.
The latest episode of Red Table Talk: The Estefans is set to premiere on Facebook Watch Thursday, December 16 at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET.
Photo Courtesy of Red Table Talk: The Estefans
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