Will Paris Hilton Have to Make Amends For Her Racist Remarks?

Slate's Culture Blog
March 22 2011 8:05 PM

Will Paris Hilton Have to Make Amends For Her Racist Remarks?

Celebrities are self-immolating so quickly these days, it can be hard to keep up. The latest burn victim: Paris Hilton.

In his new book  Everyone Loves You When You're Dead , which  collects and remixes his trove of celebrity interviews, journalist Neil Strauss shares the following unsavory exchange he had with the heiress. It dates to 1999, when Hilton was 18. Strauss precedes the section by saying, "Maybe she said what follows for provocation and shock value. Maybe she didn't. You decide..."

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HILTON : I went out with that guy last night.
STRAUSS : Which guy?
HILTON  ( points to an actor in  Saving Private Ryan [which was playing in the background]): We were making out, but then we went somewhere where it was bright and I saw that he was black and made an excuse and left. I can't stand black guys. I would never touch one. It's gross ( pauses ). Does that guy look black to you?
STRAUSS : How black does a guy have to be?
HILTON : One percent is enough for me.

L.A. Weekly 's West Coast Sound blog was the first to  print the excerpt , which wasn't in the advance press copies.  BuzzFeed  and  Gawker  both guess that the actor in question is the  multiracial  Vin Diesel.

Public figures these days often find that un-PC comments can swiftly demolish a career or at least, open one up to irate public opprobrium: Think  Mel Gibson Nir Rosen Ron Schiller John Galliano John Mayer,   Helen Thomas .

Will Paris have to do penance, too? Perhaps the statute of limitations has passed on this one. Or maybe we expect so little from her in the first place that this will just be shrugged off as so much Internet white noise. Anyone want to place a bet either way?

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Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.