Thursday, June 25, 2009

Love Him or Hate Him, It Takes A Lot to Apologize, and Perez Hilton Does for Use of "F" Word

In an altercation at last week's Much! Music Awards in Toronto with the Black Eyed Peas' Wil.I.Am and his road manager manager, Perez Hilton called the artist a f***** and went on to post a video rant against the artist, spurring a major reaction from all sides. Now Perez is suing the manager for assault.

GLAAD demanded an apology from Perez for his use of the "F" word, and many called out the hypocrisy of his actions, reminding him of his a major campaign against actor Isaiah Washington for using the word on the Grey's Anatomy set against gay actor T.R. Knight. Washington shortly after left the show.

(NOTE: Washington is a staunch supporter for marriage equality and LGBT rights and is filming a marriage equality PSA for the NOH8 campaign.)

A couple days ago, Perez issued a statement about the attack, but it was not an apology. Today's official statement, under a post titled simply and to the point, "I'm Sorry", is.

Perez's Statement:
"People make mistakes. I have made many in my life, but this past week I have made more than I can count on one hand.

I am sorry. And I mean it. No one is forcing me to write this. I am not feeling pressured to say this. I am speaking out because I realize that the last few days have been more hurtful to me - and many others - than the repeated blows I suffered to my head in Toronto this past weekend.

I have been filled with incredible sadness and regret.

I am sorry that any good work I have done for promoting equality may be tainted by me reclaiming a hurtful word - that's been personally used against me and the gay community - to hurt someone that was verbally attacking me. It was stupid.

Apologizing for me is not easy. Writing this was not easy. Life is not easy. But everything happens for a reason and I will take away a lot of valuable lessons from this experience.

Violence is never the answer. Never.

Victims should not be mocked.

The "F" word will never be uttered from my lips again. Just as others use the "N" word to insult and hurt - or as part of their everyday speech - I challenge them to remove it from their vocabulary as well.
You can read the rest of his apology on his website.

My reasoning for my posting this comes from our need to take responsibility not only for our actions, but the words that we use. I've never been comfortable with the argument that we can "reclaim" offensive terms used against us simply to use them against each other. How can we demand that society treat us as equals when we fail to do it ourselves?

Yet no one is perfect, including myself and including Perez. But unfortunately for Perez and unlike many of us, he's got the world watching him, and as a result, judging him. (Of course, he broadcasts himself some of his major faux pas.) If every bad move we made was broadcast across the world, we'd be in serious trouble. But in the case of Perez, unfortunately, there are many consequences and I'm not overlooking that.

I demand all the time not to be judged. Therefor, I do my best not to judge others, especially if they admit to the wrong in their actions. Perez has apologized and has even taken the further step of reaching out to Isaiah Washington, whom he's judged in the past.

I say, let's move on.

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