Why Perez Hilton’s TikTok ban shows he’s outdated

. 1 year ago
Perez Hilton permanently banned from TikTok

Perez Hilton has been permanently banned from TikTok – and he’s trying every trick in the book he can to reverse the ban.

The unapologetically bitchy celebrity gossipmonger was banned from the short-form video-sharing app on Saturday for repeated breaches of its community guidelines, including posting videos containing slurs and hate speech, nudity, and bullying, losing his 1.6 million followers on TikTok.

He then posted a tearful 10-minute video to Twitter, where he tried to claim that he was the victim of targeted attacks “by people who don’t like me” to take down his videos and trigger TikTok’s algorithm.

“I am feeling numb, and I don’t want to seem overly dramatic, but I feel like my world is crumbling,” he said. “This feels like a death to me.”

He also said he had contacted Charli D’Amelio and her family on Instagram, “begging them for help”, he explained as he began crying. “I grovel to them and pray they find kindness in their heart to please help me.”

Yet Hilton is simply reaping what he has spent the last two decades sowing.

The 42-year-old came to fame through his outrageous commentary on celebrity culture in the early- and mid-2000s, including outing celebrities without their permission and passing inappropriate comments on Hollywood’s latest bright young things.

He wasn’t the only one taking part in the often vicious sniping at celebrities back then: sites like The Superficial and TMZ also became popular in large part because of their witty, razor-sharp insults and commentary on celebrities’ drinking and drug problems, and their endless cycle of relationships with each other – which invariably ended up in shotgun marriages and even quicker divorces.

Perez Hilton banned from TikTok
Instagram: Perez Hilton
Perez lost 1.6 million followers on TikTok

It was part of the cut-throat media environment back then and resulted in a number of celebrities feeling bombarded with negativity and hate. But after the death of several reality TV stars following negative coverage in the press, including on gossip blogs, society has changed – and what is an acceptable tone for celebrity news has altered.

There remain some bad actors in showbiz and celebrity journalism, whose intense glare resulted in the death by suicide of UK TV host Caroline Flack in February 2020. And likewise, internet culture coverage can sometimes be a hostile place: the death of streamer Desmond Daniel Amofah, better known as Etika, in June 2019 at the age of 29 was also likely exacerbated by negative coverage from YouTube culture commentators. Keemstar came under criticism following Etika’s death for videos he posted that some believed could have triggered Etika’s mental health problems.

But by and large, the bitchy celebrity take by outsiders has disappeared, replaced instead by in-fighting among creators as they seek clout or material for their latest diss track. Anonymous Instagram accounts like Spill Sesh simply don’t use the same venom Hilton and others used to, instead choosing to detach themselves from stories and report them as they happen, rather than passing comments. Even inter-creator arguments have become much more carefully policed by a creator’s fanbase, who repel attacks against their favorite people.

The reality is that Hilton seems not to have realized that the world moved on while he wasn’t paying attention. Seeking relevance among a new generation of followers, he migrated to TikTok and began trying the same tired old tricks that had made his name 20 years ago – long before many of those whose popularity he was trying to piggyback off was born.

What he didn’t realize is that this is a different world. He’s a 42-year-old man trying to replicate the model that brought him fame in his 20s.

He hasn’t recognized that we’re now in a world that has recognized the rough and tumble celebrities went through in the last two decades, and that they came out looking the worse for it – with real-life impacts. We’re much more conscious today of the impact of our words, and we’re much more discerning about who we as a society promote to positions of power. We like people who punch up, rather than punch down. And Perez Hilton has spent years punching down.

For once, Hilton is getting a taste – albeit a much smaller, less impactful one than those he meted out to celebrities he skewered – of his own medicine. And he’s realized it doesn’t taste good.

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