Matthew Shepard Foundation doesn’t want Perez Hilton’s Lawsuit Money

In a statement on his website, Perez Hilton formally apologized to the gay community for using the word “faggot” in an argument with Black Eyed Peas will.i.am, the same argument that resulted in him getting punched in the face by the Peas manager, Polo Molina.

In that same apology, Perez wrote that he was sueing Molina for $25,000 in damages because of the incident, and that he’d donate the proceeds of the suit to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, an organization that strives to replace hate with understanding and acceptance in the face of diversity.

Well, since Hilton’s recent fight was (in part) brought on by his choice of hateful and discriminatory language in Toronto, the Matthew Shepard Foundation does not want his money. In a statement posted to the Matthewshepard.org site:

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
Chair, MSF Governing Board

Interesting.