Since posting about the alleged physical altercation between Perez Hilton (real name: Mario Lavandeira) and Will.i.am and/or a member of his “entourage” yesterday, I’ve been thinking about some of the details. Supposedly, the fight started when Fergie, also of the Black Eyed Peas, confronted Perez about being mean to her on his site. This led to Will.i.am, along with the band’s tour manager, Polo Molina, calling Perez out later that night at a club, and someone — now believed to be Molina, who turned himself in to the police — punching Perez in the face. The fight escalated from verbal to physical when — according to Lavandeira himself — Perez called Will.i.am a “f*ggot.”
It goes without saying that I am no Perez Hilton fan. Yes, we link to him on this site, usually in our morning celeb gossip roundup, “Star Couplings.” The dude gets the scoop almost better than anyone. But I have said time and time again that outside of his knack for getting the gossip, he is a rather offensive person. His biggest offense? Sitting up on a rather high horse he has no business being within 100 feet of. Really, the high horse should file a restraining order.
I was raised by two dedicated pacifists and have never been in a physical fight in my life. I don’t anticipate ever being in one, lest I need to defend myself. I don’t find dudes who fight sexy and I find war abhorrent. I think whoever did hit Perez should be punished in whatever way is appropriate. I agree with Lavandeira when he says that violence is never OK. You’ll get no argument from me on that.
Why did Lavandeira choose to call Will.i.am a “f*ggot”? He explained in the video he posted on his blog: “I knew that it would be the worst thing I could possibly say to him because he was acting the way he was. I said ‘You know what, I don’t respect you and you’re gay and stop being such a f*ggot.’” How odd that some who has positioned and sold himself as some sort of gay rights crusader would use that word as an insult. This was not a case of Lavandeira “taking back” a word that was intended as an insult and reclaiming its power for the gay community. He called Will.i.am a f*ggot because he wanted to piss him off and it was a cheap shot that made it even clearer just how self-serving Lavandeira’s interest in gay rights really is.
I’ve questioned whether Lavandeira’s true commitment is to gay rights or page views for awhile now — he’s routinely tried to “out” celebrities who he believes should come out of the closet and has exploited real gay rights leaders, like Dustin Lance Black, for the sake of traffic. While he’s expressed his strong belief that gay men and women should be treated equally and fairly, he’s also shown that he has pretty conservative values when it comes to women’s sexuality, routinely calling a majority of female celebrities, including teenagers like Miley Cyrus, sluts and whores, often drawing semen and dicks on their faces, should they show the slightest bit of a sex drive.
Lavandeira has always seemed like someone who was passionate about gay rights because it was his issue, one that affected his own life in a major way. While that’s certainly as valid a reason as any to fight for what you believe in, I always suspected that if Lavandeira were not a gay man, he would not give a hoot about gay marriage, because at the end of the day, Lavandeira’s number one priority is himself, his fame, and making as much money as possible. This incident confirms my suspicions. Perez Hilton is all about drama, above anything else. Calling Will.i.am a “f*ggot,” no matter how offensive he’s deemed the word to be on his “activist” days, was about getting the last word, playing the part of “the Queen of All Media,” and attracting all of the attention. The hiccup? I don’t think Perez counted on getting a knuckle sandwich, and his excessive bellyaching is more about a bruised ego than a bruised face. While I think violence is wrong, I also think pissing, moaning, and crying about getting hit after you’ve called someone “the worst thing” you could possibly think of is pathetic.
Now that Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has called for Lavandeira to issue an apology — which I’m sure he won’t — will the media continue to look to him as a spokesperson for gay rights? I truly hope not.