The reckoning with the entertainment industry’s long history of misogyny is FAR from over.
No single incident is responsible for this reckoning, but the recently released New York Times/FX on HULU documentary Framing Britney Spears shined new light on the way the media harasses and hounds young female stars. Witnessing the abuse Britney suffered, many revisited old coverage of her peers enduring similar treatment.
One clip that went viral on Twitter showed late night host David Letterman badgering Lindsay Lohan about an upcoming rehab stint in 2013. A visibly uncomfortable Lindsay attempted to deflect the questions, claiming that the topic wasn’t covered in the “pre-interview.”
As it turns out, the Freaky Friday star’s one-time pal Paris Hilton also found herself in Letterman’s hot seat and experienced a very similar line of questioning back in 2007. Check out the clip below:
On the latest episode of her podcast This Is Paris, which featured her sister Nicky Hilton, the heiress reflected on the upsetting appearance. She explained:
“Letterman’s team kept calling my PR team to have me be on the show, and we kept saying no. And then, months later, I had a fragrance coming out, and his team called again, and basically my PR team made an agreement with them that [jail] was off limits and he would not discuss it and we would only be there to promote the perfume and my other business ventures. I felt like it was a safe place because I’d been going on Letterman for so many years, and he’d always have fun with me and joke around, but I thought he would keep his word on this, and I was wrong.”
Despite their prior agreement, once they were in front of an audience she recalled the comedian “just kept pushing me and pushing me” to talk about it. She continued:
“I was just getting so uncomfortable, and I was so upset. It was like he was just purposely trying to humiliate me. And during commercial breaks, I would look at him like, ‘Please stop doing this. You promised me you wouldn’t talk about this, and that’s the only reason I agreed to come on the show. Please don’t bring it up again.’ And he’s like, ‘OK.’ And then [he did] again.”
Ugh! Knowing what was happening during the commercial breaks just makes it so much worse! The 40-year-old went on:
“It was just very cruel and very mean. And after it ended I looked at him and I said, ‘I’m never coming on the show again. You’ve crossed the line.’ … I didn’t tell him off because I’m not that type of person, but I got angry. And then he was apologizing and, like, sent a case of Château Lafite Rothschild wine to our house.”
That’s some pricy vino! But it sounds like they decided to ask forgiveness after being denied permission, and that’s pretty unethical.
Carter Reum’s fiancée admitted that she forgave the 73-year-old after he continued to apologize, and eventually returned to the show. But her younger sibling recalled another public embarrassment surrounding her prison sentence, this time at the hands of Sarah Silverman at the 2007 MTV VMAs. The bawdy comedienne joked on stage that the prison guards were going to paint the bars of her cell like male genitalia to make the reality star feel “more comfortable.”
Sitting in the audience, Paris remembered “trying to be brave” but feeling like she wanted “to die” listening to the cruel joke. She shared:
“I literally wanted to run out of the entire room, but I just was trying to be strong and sit there as the whole audience is laughing. It was so painful, especially with what I was going through in my life, to then have people be so mean about it. It was really hard.”
As Nicky declared that her sister was still owed an apology for the “horrific” remarks, the Simple Life star added:
“I would see that with myself, with Britney, Jessica Simpson. There was a certain type of girl they targeted that they’d never do that to a man.”
We can all agree at this point that Paris is right, and certainly many apologies are owed all around. We just hope we can all do better in the future and make amends as best we can for the behaviors of the past.
[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN/Instar]