Perez Hilton, child pornographer?

The gossipmonger gets in a dustup over his teen-themed potshots. Isn't it time to dethrone the Queen of All Media?

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published September 4, 2009 3:05PM (EDT)

In a field of douchebag celebrity gossip mongers, Perez Hilton never fails to distinguish himself. Using his self-proclaimed “Queen of All Media” title as an all-access license to call other people “faggot” (a gambit that won him an ass kicking from the Black Eyed Peas manager Polo Molina earlier this year) and “whore,” Perez Hilton (nee Mario Armando Lavandeira) has long reveled in pissing people off. But is it possible that the guy whose main claim to fame is drawing penises in movie stars’ mouths has gone too far -- even for him?

The latest dustup erupted yesterday, when Demi Moore got wind of a series of comments Hilton had posted regarding Moore’s 15 year-old-daughter, actress Tallulah Willis. First, he’d tweeted that she was “dressing like a slut! Look at her boobs!" after she’d appeared out clubbing in a low-cut ensemble. There was more on his blog, including pictures of Willis in short shorts with helpful arrows pointing to her “ass” and a photo of her at a party speculating that she “can't even stand up straight without the help of her friends.” (An equal-opportunity offender, he’s also quick to depict her big sis Rumer as a semen-dribbling “Potato Head.”

So on Thursday Moore went straight to the 21st-century court of public opinion, guns a-blazing, and began tweeting about it herself. “Clearly Perez Hilton isn't taking violating child pornography laws very seriously. He might not but there are alot (sic) of people who do!" she said, following up that "Anyone who advertises follows or supports Perez supports violating child pornography laws!"

 Moore’s grip on what constitutes child pornography may be as shaky as her spelling, and jeez, can anybody have an unexpressed, not-over-the-top thought anymore? But her maternal indignation remains understandable, and she does raise a point about the profound creepiness of Hilton when she further posts, “Let me ask all of you, what is it called when someone is telling people to look and focus on a child's ‘boobs & ass’ while providing photos?” Since she asked, I’d say it’s not called porn, it’s just called supremely gross.

Needless to say, the guy who’s previously described 16-year-old Miley Cyrus as a “Disney slut” and 15-year-old Dakota Fanning as looking like a “hot ho”  wasn’t about to take the high road when responding to Mrs. Kutcher. He promptly shot back that “Ur daughter has been an actress in Bruce's films. You 2 have been exploiting Tallulah for quite some time,” adding “The real loser in all of this is Tallulah. And she has YOU to thank for all of this." He also snarled to Ashton Kutcher, "Did your wife forget to take her menopause medication? You better keep her in check!"

It all quickly got uglier from there, as rubberneckers across the land began licking chops in anticipation of a good old-fashioned Internet pile-on. They were not disappointed. Kirstie Alley, who always brings her own special brand of wack to any conversation, jumped into the fray to call Hilton a “NASTY FILTHY NIGHTMARE OF A HUMAN BEING,” leading Hilton to retort, in rapid succession, that she was a “moron,” “twat,” and “dumb bitch” and “Behind closed doors, I'm sure your kids are fuckups too -- judging by your behavior and former druggie past.”

Feel like taking a long hot shower with a can of Comet yet?

Whether you’re Miley Cyrus or Bristol Palin or the cast of "Gossip Girl," sexuality doesn’t start promptly at the moment one turns 18. It’s part of growing up. Taking note of that, and our own cultural discomfort with it, isn’t off-limits. Moore is rather disingenuous in referring to her teenager as “a child,” and Hilton's statement that "I LOVE press!" makes it feels pretty dirty giving him any. But what Hilton seems to love even more than press is being a big-mouthed bully. It isn’t simply his cheap, cowardly pot shots or his pleasure in not merely angering people but truly hurting them -- it's the fact that he’s been able to leverage his compulsion into a lucrative career that makes it incumbent upon civilization to say enough, already. Because the only thing more unnervingly vile than this train wreck disguised as a man is our own continued tolerance for the pedestal he’s put himself on.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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