Paris Hilton put on her best business casual and marched to the nation’s capital on Wednesday to sit in front of a group of lawmakers and advocate for a cause that is very close to her heart: the treatment of teens in congregate care facilities and what can be done to make it better.
“Today I come here not as Paris, but as a survivor,” she said, before launching into her own harrowing story about her time in and out of these facilities, which are meant for wayward or “troubled” teens to get straight and involve physically and mentally abusive tactics. “For 20 years I couldn’t sleep at night, as memories of physical violence, feeling of loneliness, the loss of years rushed through my mind when I shut my eyes.”
Hilton first spoke publicly about her time at the Provo Canyon School in 2020, while doing press for her documentary, This Is Paris. As she told People, Provo Canyon was the final stop in her grueling tour of boarding schools that purported to focus on fixing behavioral and mental issues, and arguably, it was by far the worst. In an emotional speech delivered in front of the Capitol on Wednesday, Hilton detailed her time at the facility, and noted that while at Provo, she was forced to spend 11 months entirely outside. Hilton also said that staff would routinely physically abuse her, force her to take unknown pills, and send her to solitary confinement without her clothes as punishment.
Deadline reports that Hilton was joined at the press conference by Democratic lawmakers who are working to push through the Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which will provide a bill of rights for teenagers placed in these sorts of facilities moving forward.
Dunking on Paris Hilton for whatever reason you might find appropriate is decidedly inappropriate in this setting, because the abuse that she endured at these programs not only happened to her, but to other people who don’t have the same platform. Arguably, she is using her platform as a very famous person, DJ, and possible racist for good. Sincerely, that’s great. And though this subject matter is serious and reform for these programs, which are draconian in their methods, is much needed, it seems Hilton found a way to inject some levity into the situation.
Legislation is hot, yes, I agree. Icon shit, on all fronts.