Friday, June 26, 2009

The Matthew Sheppard Foundation Does Not Want Perez Hiltons Money

image The economy is in very rough shape as anyone with any sense knows.   Charities have been hard pressed to bring in money.  When one actually turns down funds it can only be because they find the actions of the donor absolutely reprehensible. 

Perez Hilton created a stir recently when he tweeted and made a video about his alleged physical altercation with Will.I.Am’s manager.  Apparently he either plans on suing or has sued for damages with the intention of donating the proceeds to the Matthew Shepard foundation. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men are oft to go astray.


The Matthew Shepard Foundation was surprised to learn this morning via media reports that blogger Perez Hilton (Mario Lavandeira) has announced he plans to donate, to our organization, the proceeds of a lawsuit he is contesting over an altercation which has been widely reported in recent days.
We had no advance notice or contact from Mr. Hilton or his representatives regarding this proposal, nor any communication since he posted this plan to his website.
We do not know the details of the lawsuit, whether it has been filed, the nature of his claims or the likely outcome. But because the lawsuit presumably involves the physical attack prompted by Mr. Hilton's admitted use of an anti-gay slur, the Foundation will be unable to accept any funds obtained in such a manner.
We very much appreciate the generosity of the offer to support our continuing work to memorialize Matthew through activism in defense of sexual minorities and in favor of understanding, compassion, and acceptance. But because so much of our work involves education to reduce the use of hateful language against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons, or those so perceived, it would be inappropriate for us to benefit financially from circumstances in which such a verbal attack was involved.
While we applaud Mr. Hilton's apology to the LGBT community and their loved ones for his use of such a slur, we also feel compelled to point out that use of epithets can often lead to physical violence, as it appears it may have in this case, and that the Matthew Shepard Foundation has worked for more than 10 years to bring to people's attention the consequences of hateful or intolerant language.
Judy Shepard

Hilton is  a stain upon the GLBT community.   I must applaud the foundation for having the moral conviction to refuse his money.  There are some sins that you simply cannot buy away, even in tough financial times.   Since starting his website Hilton has engaged in racist, sexist, and transphobic, behaviour. For this he was dubbed the Queen of mean.   Money may satisfy his conscience but it certainly is not enough for everyone. 

Even GLADD turned its back on Hilton after he claimed he was so terrified of Will.I.Am’s thug like behaviour that he had no recourse but to use a homophobic slur.  When the foundation alleged that Hilton engages in verbal violence they were very correct.  Language that necessarily devalues another or brings their humanity into question reifies difference and is the basis for many of the crimes that are committed daily against marginalized bodies.  Well Hilton,  I suppose you can consider this lesson number two in why the language that we use is so important.