LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who has made headlines by “outing” gay and lesbian stars, has vowed to stop being a bully and support a growing campaign to raise awareness about teen suicides and gay bullying.
After asking to appear on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Hilton told the popular TV chat show host that he no longer wanted to be portrayed as a bully and would change his website so that he no longer called people nasty nicknames or “outed” people.
His promise comes in the wake of the suicide of 19-year-old college student Tyler Clementi, whose encounter with a gay man was secretly filmed by a room mate and distributed on the Internet. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge between New York City and New Jersey.
“Over the last two weeks I have been doing everything I can to bring awareness to the teen suicides and gay bullying,” Hilton tells DeGeneres, according to a pre-released transcript of her show airing on Wednesday.
“In doing so a lot of people have called me a hypocrite and a bully myself and a big one ... From now on I really want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem,” added the blogger, who is openly gay.
DeGeneres, one of Hollywood’s most prominent lesbians who is married to actress Portia de Rossi, said she had been advised not to let Hilton appear on her show but she decided to allow him on to hear his views as she believed in giving second chances.
But she questioned whether the likely loss of money from his website would send 32-year-old Hilton back to his old, mean ways.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while and this was the impetus for it all. It’s definitely a concern but I don’t care,” Hilton told her.
“I’m not motivated by money ... I just feel like this is the right decision for me.”
After Clementi’s suicide, DeGeneres made an emotional appeal on her show for an end to teenage bullying and a growing number of celebrities have come forward to speak out about gay teen bullying.
“Project Runway” star Tim Gunn released a video last week describing how he tried to kill himself as a teenager in a botched suicide bid after being bullied because he was gay.
Popular “Glee” actor Chris Colfer, 20, who plays a version of himself as a gay high school student, has joined a campaign by the Trevor Project -- a nationwide suicide prevention hotline for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth and those questioning their sexual orientation.
“How I Met Your Mother” star Neil Patrick Harris, “Harry Potter” actor Daniel Radcliffe, and DeGeneres have all filmed videos for the campaign.
Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Elaine Lies
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