For Millennials. By Millennials.
Nowadays, Paris Hilton is a very successful businesswoman, along with being a very renowned socialite. However, she had quite a traumatic relationship with the press in the past. Now, she is finally opening up about her traumatic interview on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman back in 2007, which made her feel extremely “uncomfortable”.
For context, back in 2007, Hilton gave an interview to David Letterman on his CBS Late Show. There, the host repeatedly asked and pressured her to talk more about her three-week stint in jail for violating her probation related to driving under the influence. Despite her repeated refusal, Letterman kept insisting she spill the details.
Hilton explains that there wasn’t “supposed to be one question” on that topic, however, Letterman kept pushing her. At that point, Hilton felt “so uncomfortable and so upset” to recall her jail time. She tried to deflect Letterman’s question but to no avail. She tells him she has “moved on” with her life and “doesn’t really want to talk about it anymore”. However, Letterman kept insisting.
Paris Hilton says Letterman kept asking questions regarding her prison time, despite being told it was off-limits
After the release of FX’s Framing Britney Spears documentary and its explanations of how the media dealt with Spears‘ public struggles and mental health issues, Hilton decided to revisit that turbulent time of her life on her podcast This is Paris. With her sister Nicky Hilton Rothschild in one of the episodes, she discussed how in the prelude to the interview, she hadn’t talked to the press for months and reluctantly agreed to appear on Letterman:
At this point, I hadn’t done an interview in months and months, because I didn’t want to talk about it. Letterman’s team kept calling my PR team to have me on the show, and we kept saying no. My PR team made an agreement to him that [the prison discussion] was off-limits, and we would not discuss it, and we’d only be there to promote the perfume and my other business ventures. I felt like it was a safe place because I’d been going on Letterman for so many years, and he’d always have fun with me and joke around, and I thought he’d keep his word on this. And I was wrong.
On Letterman persisting with his uncomfortable questions to Paris Hilton, the businesswoman said:
It was like he was purposely trying to humiliate me. During commercial breaks, I would look at him like, ‘Please stop doing this, you promised me you wouldn’t talk about this. That’s the only reason I agreed to come on the show. Please don’t bring it up again’. It was just very cruel and very mean. After it ended, I looked at him and said, ‘I’m never coming on this show again, you’ve crossed the line'”.
David Letterman eventually apologized
As she left the stage, Paris Hilton explains that she was “in tears, crying and shaking” and immediately approached her sister Nicky, who was waiting for her off-stage. Nicky talked further about how persisting on asking those questions was impertinent of him, saying:
I think it’s fair game for him to ask you about it, but I think how he pushed it and pushed it…. he crossed the line. Just to have a young girl up there and ask her questions designed to humiliate her is cruel. And I don’t think that would happen today.
How other members of the press and media mistreated her
Despite this debacle, Paris Hilton made a subsequent appearance on Letterman in 2008. In it, he apologized to Hilton saying he was “terribly sorry” for pressing her on the jail sentence. Later on, he presented her with a bouquet as she departed. But, that wasn’t the end of Hilton’s misery with regards to the media. Her sister Nicky went on to talk about Sarah Silverman’s set at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards in which she joked about Hilton’s jail sentence. Watching that was particularly painful for the family, as Hilton recalled:
What Sarah Silverman did was so disgusting and so cruel and mean. I was so shocked and surprised because I’d actually met her a few years before when I was at an event and she couldn’t be nicer. So sweet. I knew I was about to check myself into jail in a couple hours [so I was] trying to be brave. To sit in the audience with her just literally publicly humiliating me, being so mean, so cruel [about my prison time], I was sitting there wanting to die. I was trying to hold back my tears so hard. I had tears welling in my eyes, I wanted to run out of the entire room, but I just was trying to be strong and sit there, and the whole audience is laughing and she would not stop. It was so painful.
Childhood trauma made bearing through this manageable for Hilton
However, these were just two of a string of incidents that were part of Hilton’s hardship with the media. And part of why she persevered through these adverse situations was because of the abuse she underwent in her childhood. Hilton recalled:
Now that I’ve really [experienced] life and realized so much about myself, I think the only reason I was able to go through all of that and be so strong is because I went through hell and back as a teenager. Going through something like that made me very strong, almost like I was used to it. Which is sad to think, but I think if I hadn’t gone through that, I don’t know where I’d be at this point.
As of now, Sarah Silverman and David Letterman have not responded to questioning by any outlet. So, what do you guys think of their as well as the media’s attitude towards Paris Hilton in general? Let us know in the comments below.