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Paris Hilton teaches Prince Harry a lesson Can a privileged victim ever beat the media?

She would have made a good royal. Credit: Jeff Vespa/WireImage via/ GettyImages

She would have made a good royal. Credit: Jeff Vespa/WireImage via/ GettyImages


March 14, 2023   7 mins

If you’re a female celebrity memoirist — and especially if you happen to be white, hot, blonde, and possessed of a net worth in the tens of millions — you are expected to make a privilege disclaimer: to marinate in identity-based guilt right there on the page. Apologetic passages are so ubiquitous in women’s narrative nonfiction that it’s easy to skim right past them. So, I was several chapters into Paris Hilton’s new memoir before I realised what was peculiar about it.

It wasn’t the mercurial, ADHD-fuelled writing style, which somehow still manages to tease a bright narrative line out of the chaos. It wasn’t the harrowing details of the two years the author spent in the notorious Nineties CEDU boarding school system for troubled teens. It’s that the book is trend-buckingly unapologetic. There is no privilege-acknowledging. There is no self-flagellating liberal guilt. There is one trigger warning, but in context it functions more like a titillating anticipatory pause than a chance to avoid upsetting content. After all, what reader of Paris: The Memoir is going to set the book aside just when she’s getting to the juiciest part of her traumatic origin story?

It’s hard to overstate how unusual this is. It’s got to the point when writers insert privilege disclaimers reflexively, including in contexts where they don’t make sense and aren’t even necessarily true. (“My house burned down and somebody murdered my cat — but as a cis, straight, able-bodied white woman, I’ll never know what it means to really suffer.”) I understand why people do this, of course; if you don’t call out your own privilege, you run the risk of someone far more unhinged and vindictive doing it for you. I just didn’t realise how refreshing it would be for a writer to just
 not.

In the few places in the book where the word does appear, it tends to have a very different meaning. In the CEDU facilities where Paris was confined for two years in her teens, it was a “privilege” to contact your family, to wear shoes, to sleep on a bed instead of a bare mattress in the hallway. Said privileges would be revoked for violations of the facility’s rules, which were both so numerous and so intentionally self-contradictory that it was impossible not to break them. In short, the abuse that occurred at these places, which multiple lawsuits have alleged functioned more like private prisons than schools, is nothing short of horrific — residents were forcibly medicated, ritualistically humiliated in group struggle sessions, beaten and sexually assaulted, stripped naked and left in solitary confinement for up to 20 hours at a time. And the teens destined for them were the last to know what was happening: standard intake protocol was for members of the CEDU security team to snatch them out of bed in the middle of the night.

Since 2020, when she first shared this story in the documentary This Is Paris, Hilton has been part of a survivors’ movement that calls for CEDU facilities to be shut down. The sections of her memoir detailing her treatment there read like equal parts exposĂ© and survival thriller. But here, too, the book takes an unexpected turn. Paris Hilton isn’t sorry for her privilege, but she isn’t sorry for herself, either. In a world where so much cultural currency resides in narratives of victimisation and oppression, she chooses again to just
 not.

This is striking, juxtaposed with another recent memoir by a certain individual born into breathtaking wealth and status. Consider Paris’s tone when reflecting on how her time at Provo, Utah’s CEDU facility, left her not only traumatised, but completely lacking the education of a normal person her age:

This whole shit storm had stolen two years from me, and that’s like—what is that? Like 10 percent of my life at the time? No! More like 20 percent, isn’t it? Because, like, two years would be a fifth of your life if you’re twenty, and I was only eighteen, so—ugh. Forget it. I can’t do math. Math got robbed from me, along with geography, algebra, socialisation, healthy flirtation, how to conduct my body and value my soul.

Now compare it with Prince Harry, bewailing that he’d been cut off financially by his father at the tender age of 34:

Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service. More, after a lifetime of rendering me otherwise unemployable. I felt fatted for the slaughter. Suckled like a veal calf.

Both passages embody a peculiar type of celebrity: fame was guaranteed long before they did anything attention-worthy in their own right. Both were notoriously troubled teens who responded to the pressures of a privileged upbringing by rebelling, often as publicly and messily as possible, secure in the knowledge that they were too well-protected to be left with nothing. Both, too, experienced genuine trauma in their lives, the pain of which no amount of money could soften.

And yet, if someone had said 10 years ago that only one of these people would ultimately build a multimillion-dollar brand on the foundation of his or her victimhood — and make a spectacle of renouncing his or her famous family while continuing to capitalise on it at every turn — who’d have guessed it would be the Prince?

Perhaps we might disagree on who has the greater claim to family grievance: the motherless royal who chose to renounce his role in the family, and wound up renounced by them in return; or the heiress whose complicated relationship with the parents who sent her away doesn’t stop her from citing the family name among her list of assets. (It is worth noting here that Harry, though he has made headlines by acknowledging his white male privilege, always somehow seems to avoid mentioning the part where being born royal and astronomically wealthy was surely a greater advantage. He also has the word “PRINCE” emblazoned on its cover in an exceptionally large font.) But the difference is one of degree, not of kind.

The difference in their attitudes, meanwhile, is vast. After returning to her parents’ home from the lockdown facility, a 19-year-old Paris stays up at night, unable to sleep in the room from which she was abducted at the age of 16, listing “ways to make money and leverage the assets no one could take from me: my face, my name, my legs, modelling contacts, and experience on the runway — none of which would mean anything if I wasn’t willing to work hard”. Harry, a married father in his thirties, also stays up at night — raging at the injustice of having to navigate the adult world, for which he is woefully unprepared in a way that neither the press nor his family seem to appreciate. He laments having been cruelly robbed, by his royal upbringing, of formative experiences such as carrying cash, riding the subway, or (yes, really) receiving boxes from Amazon: “After decades of being rigorously and systematically infantilised, I was now abruptly abandoned, and mocked for being immature?”

The two approaches make for a study in what each author evidently perceives as his or her most winning public relations strategy. Harry’s brand is a sob story, wrapped in a privilege acknowledgment, stuffed into Oprah’s mailbox. He is undiscerning in the details he shares. Paris’s is a more carefully choreographed airing of dirty laundry, offering front-row seats for the press. Unlike Harry, Paris is under no illusions as to the symbiotic nature of the relationship between herself and the media. They exploit her, but she exploits them, too, often beating them at their own game. As harrowing as the boarding school stories are, the more radical — and revealing — part of this memoir is the frankness with which she describes a lifetime of living in front of the cameras, for better and for worse.

Her humanity, the real person behind the public figure, comes through in unexpected flashes, as when she describes putting her own body between a mini-dress-wearing Britney Spears and the hovering paparazzi as the pop star climbed into a car, shielding her in the vulnerable moment when a photographer might have captured an upskirt shot. But what also comes through is how savvy Hilton has always been about how much she controls the narrative when it comes to her family’s public face — how much she is its public face.

When her parents come to visit her at the Provo boarding school just a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday, she hisses a promise in her father’s ear: if he makes her stay at the facility until she’s reached legal adulthood, her first stop after they let her out will be the offices of the Wall Street Journal, where she’ll tell the press exactly what they’ve been doing to her — what her parents paid them to do. After years of refusing to believe their daughter when she said she was being abused at Provo, what does it say about the Hiltons that this was the one utterance they took seriously? (Paris was released shortly thereafter.) And what does it say about Paris that, despite her threat — and despite the obvious cachet of having been so sensationally mistreated — it took decades before she made this story public?

I came of age at the same time as Paris Hilton — she is almost exactly one year older than me — and it’s tempting, having read this memoir, to indulge in a little self-flagellation of my own. I remember laughing along with everyone else when Sarah Silverman, at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, joked with gleeful malice about Hilton’s upcoming stint in jail. I remember rolling my eyes at The Simple Life, the reality TV show that featured Paris and Nicole Richie struggling their way through menial, low-paying jobs as janitors, farmhands, camp counsellors. Of course, there was no way of knowing at the time how much of The Simple Life was pure performance (apart from the strip searches and struggle sessions, Provo’s preferred method of character-building was to make the residents haul rocks), or that Paris’s widely-mocked breakdown over being sentenced to jail stemmed from genuine PTSD. But the mix of sneering contempt and total incuriosity with which she was treated: that was a choice.

It seems incredible that the media hasn’t jumped at the chance to recontextualise what they did to Paris Hilton in the same way that they’ve done with Britney Spears — which is to say, to shamelessly march out all their most exploitative coverage for a documentary re-airing, under the nearly transparent pretence of repenting for their sins. And yet, the response to Paris’s latest offering has been, at best, only marginally less sneering than usual.

Maybe it’s because there never was a meltdown, or a breakdown, or a tearful sit down with Oprah that made Paris seem like a person it was possible to feel sorry for. Or maybe it’s just the same old cynicism: who is to say that this isn’t just another example of Hilton’s uncanny capacity for controlling the narrative, even as she appears to be making herself vulnerable? If a person is both incredibly calculating and also incredibly honest about it, does that make her more trustworthy, or less? When she forgives her parents for sending her away, is it because she really forgives them? Or has she simply concluded — as Prince Harry must have when he decided to christen his daughter a Princess — that her family is a greater asset to her than renouncing all its privileges could ever be?


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Tempted to actually read the Paris Hilton book after reading this. You feel you might actually learn something positive from it. And discover that there’s a bit more to some celebs than you assume.
I shan’t be reading the Harry nonsense:
Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service.
That’s right. Aged 34 and he’s already completed “a lifetime of service”.
He also voluntarily resigned from his “job”. Out in the real world, you don’t get redundancy pay for doing that. Not that he’d know.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Sadly he doesn’t seem to have had advisors pointing out the absurdity of a sentence like the one you quote. As a Prince he may well have been indulged but his new advisors are no better.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Quite disgustingly so.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Quite disgustingly so.

sm dunn-dufault
sm dunn-dufault
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

ditto. what an exceptional writer Kat is to actually tempt me to read Paris’ memoir.

Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You should listen to the podcast interview of Paris by meghan markle in ‘Archetypes’ (even though markle has no idea what an archetype is), you know the newly appointed queen of victimhood. In true victimhood style, after Paris Hilton shares very personal details of her experience, markle tries to one up her on victim status with some vacuous bullshit of her own harrowing experiences as a member of the Royal Family, living in the Palace and after a multi million dollar wedding paid for by the father in law. It was truly cringe worthy, so were most of the other episodes where she did the same thing. She should have named the series ‘My victim hood is greater than yours’.
In my opinion Paris seems to have managed her life quite well, I certainly don’t recall her falling back to her ‘boarding school experience’ as often as harry has fallen back to the ‘death of his mother’, and the horrible and brutal upbringing by his family. What a prat.
Chris Rock was right.

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service.”
I am a bit late commenting, but did anyone else notice that this could be said by any 18 year old moving out?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Sadly he doesn’t seem to have had advisors pointing out the absurdity of a sentence like the one you quote. As a Prince he may well have been indulged but his new advisors are no better.

sm dunn-dufault
sm dunn-dufault
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

ditto. what an exceptional writer Kat is to actually tempt me to read Paris’ memoir.

Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You should listen to the podcast interview of Paris by meghan markle in ‘Archetypes’ (even though markle has no idea what an archetype is), you know the newly appointed queen of victimhood. In true victimhood style, after Paris Hilton shares very personal details of her experience, markle tries to one up her on victim status with some vacuous bullshit of her own harrowing experiences as a member of the Royal Family, living in the Palace and after a multi million dollar wedding paid for by the father in law. It was truly cringe worthy, so were most of the other episodes where she did the same thing. She should have named the series ‘My victim hood is greater than yours’.
In my opinion Paris seems to have managed her life quite well, I certainly don’t recall her falling back to her ‘boarding school experience’ as often as harry has fallen back to the ‘death of his mother’, and the horrible and brutal upbringing by his family. What a prat.
Chris Rock was right.

Irene Ve
Irene Ve
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service.”
I am a bit late commenting, but did anyone else notice that this could be said by any 18 year old moving out?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Tempted to actually read the Paris Hilton book after reading this. You feel you might actually learn something positive from it. And discover that there’s a bit more to some celebs than you assume.
I shan’t be reading the Harry nonsense:
Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service.
That’s right. Aged 34 and he’s already completed “a lifetime of service”.
He also voluntarily resigned from his “job”. Out in the real world, you don’t get redundancy pay for doing that. Not that he’d know.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Excellent, thoughtful essay with a compelling spin.

Privilege and victimhood are a state of mind IMO. I would guess 90% of people born in the west are amongst the most privileged people in the world. There are exceptions of course – people born to abusive parents, being born in the handful of really horrible communities.

This essay reminds me of incident at the Stanford Law School recently, when students and a dean berated a conservative judge for an hour, whining about the harm he has caused them. These are literally the most privileged 1% to ever walk this earth, yet they manage to complain about victimhood.

Like Prince Harry, these are the most offensive, shallow, weakest creatures you will ever meet. It’s easy to resent their wasted privilege, but almost all of us enjoy wealth and privilege only dreamed about in most of the world.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It has long been observed that while material possessions can certainly make life easier and contribute to overall happiness you can still find large numbers of very happy people living in very materially deprived circumstances. Having more is not the guaranteed recipe for happiness. That is something that comes from one’s own attitude coupled with a genuinely loving support.

The wingers you refer to have never been taught to have a sense of proportion. So much woke narrative pretends to be speaking truth but is in fact simply a distorted version of it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Everything is relative. I disagree that 90% of people born in the west are amongst “the most privileged people in the world”. Perhaps you’re thinking of white people but even they know the suffering and abuse that stems from poverty in the “other America”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Clare Knight
MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, Americans of all shades are immensely privileged compared to most of the developing world. Yes, even the ones who live in their cars for having nowhere else to go, because most people on this Earth will never be wealthy enough to contemplate the thought of owning a car. That’s why (overwhelmingly non-white) immigrants subject themselves to the degrading experience of trying to get to the US. They want to be where they know life, even when awful, will be better than whatever they have at home.That some people can’t realize this fact only shows their own lack of perspective and self-awareness.

L Walker
L Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

As an American who has lived in several other countries, we are the best off of all the places I’ve been. England and France, are I’m sure, great places to live, as evidenced by your own immigration problems. We have literally millions of people wanting to live here.

L Walker
L Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

As an American who has lived in several other countries, we are the best off of all the places I’ve been. England and France, are I’m sure, great places to live, as evidenced by your own immigration problems. We have literally millions of people wanting to live here.

greg green
greg green
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, the west has privilege and opportunity well beyond your imagination, it’s why millions come to the west every year.

Half the world’s home don’t have flush toilets. The average monthly income in Africa ($758) is a tenth of what it is in the US ($7900) or UK ($7795). The average salary in Vietnam is $277 per month.

The average American on welfare has more wealth and assets than the average African.

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, Americans of all shades are immensely privileged compared to most of the developing world. Yes, even the ones who live in their cars for having nowhere else to go, because most people on this Earth will never be wealthy enough to contemplate the thought of owning a car. That’s why (overwhelmingly non-white) immigrants subject themselves to the degrading experience of trying to get to the US. They want to be where they know life, even when awful, will be better than whatever they have at home.That some people can’t realize this fact only shows their own lack of perspective and self-awareness.

greg green
greg green
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

No, the west has privilege and opportunity well beyond your imagination, it’s why millions come to the west every year.

Half the world’s home don’t have flush toilets. The average monthly income in Africa ($758) is a tenth of what it is in the US ($7900) or UK ($7795). The average salary in Vietnam is $277 per month.

The average American on welfare has more wealth and assets than the average African.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

It has long been observed that while material possessions can certainly make life easier and contribute to overall happiness you can still find large numbers of very happy people living in very materially deprived circumstances. Having more is not the guaranteed recipe for happiness. That is something that comes from one’s own attitude coupled with a genuinely loving support.

The wingers you refer to have never been taught to have a sense of proportion. So much woke narrative pretends to be speaking truth but is in fact simply a distorted version of it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Everything is relative. I disagree that 90% of people born in the west are amongst “the most privileged people in the world”. Perhaps you’re thinking of white people but even they know the suffering and abuse that stems from poverty in the “other America”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Clare Knight
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Excellent, thoughtful essay with a compelling spin.

Privilege and victimhood are a state of mind IMO. I would guess 90% of people born in the west are amongst the most privileged people in the world. There are exceptions of course – people born to abusive parents, being born in the handful of really horrible communities.

This essay reminds me of incident at the Stanford Law School recently, when students and a dean berated a conservative judge for an hour, whining about the harm he has caused them. These are literally the most privileged 1% to ever walk this earth, yet they manage to complain about victimhood.

Like Prince Harry, these are the most offensive, shallow, weakest creatures you will ever meet. It’s easy to resent their wasted privilege, but almost all of us enjoy wealth and privilege only dreamed about in most of the world.

Louise Henson
Louise Henson
1 year ago

“Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service.”
Firstly 10 or 12 years of ‘service’ is far short of a lifetime. Secondly he wasn’t ‘fired’, he chose to resign. Thirdly his father continued to give Harry millions for months following his departure. And fourthly he had inherited millions from his mother so he was very well provided for.
Such dishonesty and self-delusion. In contrast Paris Hilton’s story sounds truly shocking.

Last edited 1 year ago by Louise Henson
Louise Henson
Louise Henson
1 year ago

“Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service.”
Firstly 10 or 12 years of ‘service’ is far short of a lifetime. Secondly he wasn’t ‘fired’, he chose to resign. Thirdly his father continued to give Harry millions for months following his departure. And fourthly he had inherited millions from his mother so he was very well provided for.
Such dishonesty and self-delusion. In contrast Paris Hilton’s story sounds truly shocking.

Last edited 1 year ago by Louise Henson
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I haven’t read the Prince Harry memoir but just from reading that one snippet – it felt like I was reading a satire from Viz magazine.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Modern Victims.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Modern Victims.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

I haven’t read the Prince Harry memoir but just from reading that one snippet – it felt like I was reading a satire from Viz magazine.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

I have never heard of this CEDU school thing until now. It sounds awful. I went to boarding school myself and although it wasn’t anything remotely as bad as described for Paris Hilton above, I nonetheless struggled to shake the impression that I was being punished for something or other. It certainly felt like it at times.

Boarding school does wonders for many children, but in other cases I am convinced, based on my own experience and what I’ve read generally, that some children can be irreparably damaged by it.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

My reaction to this article was: the CEDU did what??
Like you, i’m surprised not to have heard of it before now. Grabbing teenagers out of their beds in the middle of the night? If that isn’t criminal abuse to begin with, i’m not sure how you’d define it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I got the impression they were being “abducted” with parental permission.

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago

They were. Taken from their beds in the middle of the night and then taken through airports in handcuffs by adults with whom they had no relation but held a letter of authority from their parents. If this stuff hadn’t happened, you would struggle to make it up.

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago

They were. Taken from their beds in the middle of the night and then taken through airports in handcuffs by adults with whom they had no relation but held a letter of authority from their parents. If this stuff hadn’t happened, you would struggle to make it up.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I got the impression they were being “abducted” with parental permission.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

What does CEDU stand for?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

You could google it.

Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Its a cult!

Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Its a cult!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Iris C

You could google it.

Jane H
Jane H
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I attended a boarding school although as a day scholar. The one conclusion i came to was that no matter how academically successful boarders were, they were denied the opportunity to be part of a family during their formative years. Although close friendships could be considered a ‘school family’ nothing replaces the bond with your own kin. I genuinely felt sorry for the boarders even though it was a caring Quaker school there was a noticeable undertone of sadness and abandonment. Not all families are loving but there is zero at a boarding school.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

My reaction to this article was: the CEDU did what??
Like you, i’m surprised not to have heard of it before now. Grabbing teenagers out of their beds in the middle of the night? If that isn’t criminal abuse to begin with, i’m not sure how you’d define it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

What does CEDU stand for?

Jane H
Jane H
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I attended a boarding school although as a day scholar. The one conclusion i came to was that no matter how academically successful boarders were, they were denied the opportunity to be part of a family during their formative years. Although close friendships could be considered a ‘school family’ nothing replaces the bond with your own kin. I genuinely felt sorry for the boarders even though it was a caring Quaker school there was a noticeable undertone of sadness and abandonment. Not all families are loving but there is zero at a boarding school.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

I have never heard of this CEDU school thing until now. It sounds awful. I went to boarding school myself and although it wasn’t anything remotely as bad as described for Paris Hilton above, I nonetheless struggled to shake the impression that I was being punished for something or other. It certainly felt like it at times.

Boarding school does wonders for many children, but in other cases I am convinced, based on my own experience and what I’ve read generally, that some children can be irreparably damaged by it.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
1 year ago

So, my question is did her experience at the school make her or did she prove so capable and successful despite her incarceration? In fact did she survive the school because she always had it in her to do so?
I find the question of trauma and how it influences our lives endlessly fascinating. It’s becoming the norm for this subject to be yet another polarising ideology. Too corrupted by the woke crowd or too ignored by those who don’t know they have privilege to check etc. But I’ve witnessed and even experienced with new awareness too much to know that we make choices based on visceral unconscious emotional triggers. What’s significant is how constructive or destructive those choices are.
Outwardly at least, it seems like Paris Hilton has a capacity to chose, for the most part, constructively. That’s a talent worth understanding.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

That’s an important insight. I’m not at all sure that “sharing” with the world (as opposed to one-to-one with a suitable other individual if needed) is anything like a good way to resolve, or at least move on from trauma.
A life without trauma is almost impossible, it’s simply part of the human condition. Sometimes we’re partly responsible for it, sometimes it happens to us out of the blue. I have to say, my reaction to the situation Hilton found herself in would be to dig in, in a very F**k You kind of way. I appreciate others might suffer lifelong stress. Is there a bio-chemical, perhaps even genetic component to this? Does it therefore confer a “survive and thrive” advantage, ultimately in an evolutionary sense?
These are questions worth considering by us all, not least to inform how we find our way through the modern world which is putting unprecedented challenges before us, and will continue to do so.

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago

Read the experiences of the kids that went there. You might as well ask if Reading Gaol was the making of Oscar Wilde.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

That’s an important insight. I’m not at all sure that “sharing” with the world (as opposed to one-to-one with a suitable other individual if needed) is anything like a good way to resolve, or at least move on from trauma.
A life without trauma is almost impossible, it’s simply part of the human condition. Sometimes we’re partly responsible for it, sometimes it happens to us out of the blue. I have to say, my reaction to the situation Hilton found herself in would be to dig in, in a very F**k You kind of way. I appreciate others might suffer lifelong stress. Is there a bio-chemical, perhaps even genetic component to this? Does it therefore confer a “survive and thrive” advantage, ultimately in an evolutionary sense?
These are questions worth considering by us all, not least to inform how we find our way through the modern world which is putting unprecedented challenges before us, and will continue to do so.

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago

Read the experiences of the kids that went there. You might as well ask if Reading Gaol was the making of Oscar Wilde.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
1 year ago

So, my question is did her experience at the school make her or did she prove so capable and successful despite her incarceration? In fact did she survive the school because she always had it in her to do so?
I find the question of trauma and how it influences our lives endlessly fascinating. It’s becoming the norm for this subject to be yet another polarising ideology. Too corrupted by the woke crowd or too ignored by those who don’t know they have privilege to check etc. But I’ve witnessed and even experienced with new awareness too much to know that we make choices based on visceral unconscious emotional triggers. What’s significant is how constructive or destructive those choices are.
Outwardly at least, it seems like Paris Hilton has a capacity to chose, for the most part, constructively. That’s a talent worth understanding.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

Until she became a DJ Paris Hilton was not really on my radar. See her at Amnesia and small gigs: with the crowd and in interviews about music you can see what a genuine person she is. Also she must be canny and strong to have survived the direct abuse at the “tough love” camps AND the indirect (ie emotional/pyschological) abuse from the media & SNL leftie brigade. Just goes to show how much prejudice based on skin color and heritage is BS whoever the target is.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago

Until she became a DJ Paris Hilton was not really on my radar. See her at Amnesia and small gigs: with the crowd and in interviews about music you can see what a genuine person she is. Also she must be canny and strong to have survived the direct abuse at the “tough love” camps AND the indirect (ie emotional/pyschological) abuse from the media & SNL leftie brigade. Just goes to show how much prejudice based on skin color and heritage is BS whoever the target is.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago

Individuals matter. It doesn’t much matter their background, every person can suffer great unfairness.

It may be true that, on average, you might be more likely to suffer if you are from an ethnic minority, female, gay, whatever (I’m not convinced but accept) but it doesn’t matter, Individuals matter and every time we meet then we have to try to think of them as one, unique personality

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago

Individuals matter. It doesn’t much matter their background, every person can suffer great unfairness.

It may be true that, on average, you might be more likely to suffer if you are from an ethnic minority, female, gay, whatever (I’m not convinced but accept) but it doesn’t matter, Individuals matter and every time we meet then we have to try to think of them as one, unique personality

Laney R Sexton
Laney R Sexton
1 year ago

I’ve known a handful of people who have interacted with Paris before.

One girl in Portland who went to reform school with her in Provo said she was stuck-up and hard to connect with. If you complemented her blouse she would say,
“oh. You can’t afford this, it’s from France”.

Additionally she was often leaving the school with a much older boyfriend in a sports car and preoccupied with getting drugs (but who could blame her?). I heard this anecdote around 2009/10.

Everyone else has been men, pro-skaters, c-level journalists, musicians etc. They all had nothing but glowing praise for Paris saying she’s the nicest, funnest person they’ve ever met. The skater I specifically recall saying,

“Paris Hilton is by far the coolest celebrity I’ve ever met. She’ll do any drug, go to any party, she’s the nicest, funnest girl on earth.”

Laney R Sexton
Laney R Sexton
1 year ago

I’ve known a handful of people who have interacted with Paris before.

One girl in Portland who went to reform school with her in Provo said she was stuck-up and hard to connect with. If you complemented her blouse she would say,
“oh. You can’t afford this, it’s from France”.

Additionally she was often leaving the school with a much older boyfriend in a sports car and preoccupied with getting drugs (but who could blame her?). I heard this anecdote around 2009/10.

Everyone else has been men, pro-skaters, c-level journalists, musicians etc. They all had nothing but glowing praise for Paris saying she’s the nicest, funnest person they’ve ever met. The skater I specifically recall saying,

“Paris Hilton is by far the coolest celebrity I’ve ever met. She’ll do any drug, go to any party, she’s the nicest, funnest girl on earth.”

L Walker
L Walker
1 year ago

I’ve read about a third of her book and my opinion of her went much higher. She had a lot of negative press which made me think badly of her but I didn’t know about that horrible prison school she attended. She didn’t deserve that.

L Walker
L Walker
1 year ago

I’ve read about a third of her book and my opinion of her went much higher. She had a lot of negative press which made me think badly of her but I didn’t know about that horrible prison school she attended. She didn’t deserve that.

Michael Layman
Michael Layman
1 year ago

I have a hard time believing Harry “raging at the injustice of having to navigate the adult world”, when he served in the military and served in Afghanistan as well.
I had no clue on the other hand of the trauma that Paris Hilton was forced to endure. I have a new found respect for her.

Michael Layman
Michael Layman
1 year ago

I have a hard time believing Harry “raging at the injustice of having to navigate the adult world”, when he served in the military and served in Afghanistan as well.
I had no clue on the other hand of the trauma that Paris Hilton was forced to endure. I have a new found respect for her.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Her nu britn equivalent would be ” Bromley Travelodge”….

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Her nu britn equivalent would be ” Bromley Travelodge”….

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
1 year ago

PH and PH – two people really nobody should waste a word on.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

Yet they are both people as are you and i

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
1 year ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

Yet they are both people as are you and i

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
1 year ago

PH and PH – two people really nobody should waste a word on.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago

I have read Harry’s book , it’s easy to read, nothing complicated, he comes across as an honest human being and I cannot understand why the public is so furious with him. Harry is rich but nevertheless quite atypical young person, angry & hurt and I get it. As a parent I understand him. His father has clearly neglected him (I also I understand -parenting can be hard & we don’t always get it right) during his most vulnerable years. The wealth & status cannot be a compensation for a traumatic tragedy, the confusing disproportionate media attention, the apathy of those closest and the subsequent public’s & media’s unreasonable spitting fury.

The reality is that no one chooses to be born price or pauper . Neither place is comfortable. Why do we feel so much more for the poor as compared to the wealthy? Isnt it just labelling? Don’t the media try and evoke base emotions in us in both circumstances? Hate the rich, pity the poor?

I cannot understand, this comparison with other celebrities either. Each can decide to tell their story and show us their feelings. We all have complex emotions and feelings and this derision of one type in favour of the other is immature & vindictive.

I find this article is totally divisive and without substance. I want to ask the author, why are you so upset with Harry? Has he harmed you? Are you not exploiting him by writing this article?

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

“He comes across as an honest human being”. You must lead a very sheltered life

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
1 year ago

“why are you so upset with Harry?”
I call that the Fallacy of Facebook.
Alka, why does what Kat has written make you so uncomfortable? Why are you taking our your troubles out on the readers of Unherd? Why do you believe the earth is flat?
I can do this all day. I think you get where I’m coming from.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

I have not read his book but extracts from it. It may be that he is reasonably honest but he is clearly delusional about many things and lacks any sense of proportion. I would refer you to the bizarre statement quoted by Peter B above. He is not quite typical of young people. For a start he is not a young person but middle aged. But he does comes across as a spoilt brat. I don’t think the author is upset by Harry she is merely drawing a contrast between his response to trauma and Hilton’s.

You make assumptions that those about him were apathetic. There is no evidence of that apart from his own self-serving narrative. The contrast the public draws is between the behaviour of Harry and his brother which is the telling one.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

To which i might add: his choice of partner.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

To which i might add: his choice of partner.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
1 year ago

Hmmm where to begin in reply? In no particular order, here are some points against Harry: He complained about too much celebrity but clearly seeks it constantly. He effectively renounced his royal birthright by moving to California, quitting the royal duties, but wants to attend ceremonies with his previous regalia and to retain all titles. He bangs on about climate change but flies in private jets. He accuses Britain and America of racism but has only ever lived in all-white enclaves. There are so many more ways to dislike him but these should help you understand the other side.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

He named his kid Princess Lilibet Diana, completely saddling/marketing her own identity from day one. He and his Rachel Dolezal-style make-up wearing mum, who also wore an obvious wire (that bump on her chest was not a nipple) under her white coat dress
well, it just goes on and on with the terrible twosome.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

He named his kid Princess Lilibet Diana, completely saddling/marketing her own identity from day one. He and his Rachel Dolezal-style make-up wearing mum, who also wore an obvious wire (that bump on her chest was not a nipple) under her white coat dress
well, it just goes on and on with the terrible twosome.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

an unusual take for a Hughes- Hallett?!!!

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 year ago

“He comes across as an honest human being”. You must lead a very sheltered life

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
1 year ago

“why are you so upset with Harry?”
I call that the Fallacy of Facebook.
Alka, why does what Kat has written make you so uncomfortable? Why are you taking our your troubles out on the readers of Unherd? Why do you believe the earth is flat?
I can do this all day. I think you get where I’m coming from.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

I have not read his book but extracts from it. It may be that he is reasonably honest but he is clearly delusional about many things and lacks any sense of proportion. I would refer you to the bizarre statement quoted by Peter B above. He is not quite typical of young people. For a start he is not a young person but middle aged. But he does comes across as a spoilt brat. I don’t think the author is upset by Harry she is merely drawing a contrast between his response to trauma and Hilton’s.

You make assumptions that those about him were apathetic. There is no evidence of that apart from his own self-serving narrative. The contrast the public draws is between the behaviour of Harry and his brother which is the telling one.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
1 year ago

Hmmm where to begin in reply? In no particular order, here are some points against Harry: He complained about too much celebrity but clearly seeks it constantly. He effectively renounced his royal birthright by moving to California, quitting the royal duties, but wants to attend ceremonies with his previous regalia and to retain all titles. He bangs on about climate change but flies in private jets. He accuses Britain and America of racism but has only ever lived in all-white enclaves. There are so many more ways to dislike him but these should help you understand the other side.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

an unusual take for a Hughes- Hallett?!!!

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago

I have read Harry’s book , it’s easy to read, nothing complicated, he comes across as an honest human being and I cannot understand why the public is so furious with him. Harry is rich but nevertheless quite atypical young person, angry & hurt and I get it. As a parent I understand him. His father has clearly neglected him (I also I understand -parenting can be hard & we don’t always get it right) during his most vulnerable years. The wealth & status cannot be a compensation for a traumatic tragedy, the confusing disproportionate media attention, the apathy of those closest and the subsequent public’s & media’s unreasonable spitting fury.

The reality is that no one chooses to be born price or pauper . Neither place is comfortable. Why do we feel so much more for the poor as compared to the wealthy? Isnt it just labelling? Don’t the media try and evoke base emotions in us in both circumstances? Hate the rich, pity the poor?

I cannot understand, this comparison with other celebrities either. Each can decide to tell their story and show us their feelings. We all have complex emotions and feelings and this derision of one type in favour of the other is immature & vindictive.

I find this article is totally divisive and without substance. I want to ask the author, why are you so upset with Harry? Has he harmed you? Are you not exploiting him by writing this article?