Perez Hilton finally stepped over the line by Tweeting allegedly fake pictures of 17-year-old Miley Cyrus' private parts. But, anyone who's paid any attention to Perez's 'career' probably wouldn't be surprised.
The controversial blogger who became famous from posting -- some would argue 'stealing' -- tabloid photos and adding his own "doodles" could now face child pornography charges for distributing the fake image of Miley.
I first met Perez -- aka Mario Lavanderia -- long before he was Perez, when he was working in a low-level position at Star magazine. He was an awkward young guy, struggling to find his place in the competitive world of celeb gossip. After he was fired from Star, Lavanderia attempted a career as an actor, worked as a media relations assistant for LGBT organization GLAAD, freelanced as a writer for gay publications and worked as a receptionist for NYC gay events club Urban Outings.
It was when none of these endeavors succeeded that Lavanderia, in 2005, turned to blogging "because it seemed easy," he said. Perez was born and success came quickly.
This isn't the first time Perez has found himself in legal hot water. On November 30, 2006, celebrity photo agency X17Online filed a lawsuit. On April 23, 2007, a consortium of five celebrity photo agencies filed a joint lawsuit against Hilton for alleged copyright infringement. Just days later, on April 26, 2007 celebrity photo agency PhotoNews claimed $4,200 in damages for his alleged unauthorized use of a single copyrighted paparazzi photograph. Shortly after, Hilton's web host dropped his site upon threats of liability in the cases outlined above.
It's also not the first time Hilton's character has been questioned. Kim Ficera, contributing writer for AfterEllen.com, wrote, "I have to question the character of a man who attacks others on such deeply personal levels, without provocation and for self-benefit, monetary or otherwise. ... If he's emotionally incapable of exhibiting even the tiniest bit of compassion for closeted people, if he can't be sensitive to the fact that coming out is a very personal decision and that the process can be difficult for some -- especially celebrities -- I feel sorry for him."
But there is something different about Perez's most recent questionable act -- and it's not necessarily only the Miley photo that has ABC Daytime pulling its ads from his site (will others follow suit?).
What's different this time is that we have changed. As the recession continues, the war seemingly having no end in sight, and people struggling every day simply to pay their bills, we are no longer willing to sit by and laugh at Perez's arrogance. It's just not cool to support a bully, or someone who thinks that making fun of others makes him interesting.
Thankfully, we are a different country than we were just a few years ago when Perez's style of gossip was at its height. And unless Perez wakes up and realizes that too, he'll find himself with even bigger troubles than the legal mess he's now in over Miley. Sure, we can still make fun or celebrities (Jon Gosselin, anyone?), but being mean for mean's sake is over. We are better than that. Let's be Naughty But Nice, instead!