Perez Hilton and Seek Internet Justice

07/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


Update: Apparently, PH did call the cops before he Tweeted. But still, was Tweeting necessary?

If you had just been the victim of a crime, would you call the police before or after you Twittered about it? And if someone had accused you of a crime---of a crime that could result in jail time---would you respond via your attorney or via internet video?

I ask because Perez Hilton claims he was assaulted by of The Black Eyed Peas, and denies it... and both of them have taken to the internet to hash it out.

After allegedly being assaulted at an after-party in Canada, Hilton tweeted to his readers to call the cops. Since then, has posted multiple videos claiming innocence.

And look... if I had just been attacked by someone famous, I might feel the impulse to instantly to make it public, as a way of getting revenge via bad publicity. And as Chris Brown and others have shown, for celebs accused of something illegal, homemade "innocence videos" are becoming this year's defensive talk show tour.

Furthermore, I know this incident is just the latest in a century-long string of "court of public opinion" flare-ups.

And yet despite all the precedent, this is still unsettling.

For one thing, if a purported victim asks his Twitter followers to call the cops for him, isn't it harder to take his assault claim seriously? No matter what happened, Hilton has already worked the incident to his own advantage, which suggests he's more interested in getting attention than telling the truth.

And as for why should he lower himself to Hilton's level of exploitation? If the charges are serious, then they need to be addressed through proper legal channels. If they aren't, then they shouldn't be honored with quickie online videos.

I don't have all the facts. I wasn't there. But based on what's being presented about this alleged kerfuffle, it seems like two people who are desperate for publicity have tacitly agreed to turn the idea of assault into a viral internet sensation. Once again, real crime has been transformed into cheap entertainment.

What do you guys think?

(photo via Towleroad)

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