celebrity

It’s time to talk about the way Perez Hilton destroyed Mischa Barton.

“Ever heard of a tanning bed, Mischa Barton? Or daylight?”

“Mushy Fartone gets dumped.”

“So, Mush Mush is firing back and setting the record straight about her weight and the ‘puffy’ pictures.”

“It’s nice to see her standing up for herself. It means she took the time out of her busy schedule of clubbing and ‘snacks’ to form coherent sentences.”

These are just some of the hundreds of charming comments made by Perez Hilton towards actress Mischa Barton.

Mischa aged 17
Mischa Barton was first thrust onto the celebrity scene aged just 17 and grew up in the limelight. Image: Gregg/DeGuire/WireImage.

The very famous American gossip blogger is well known for being horrifically harsh in his unpacking of whatever is happening in the world of celebrity.

Perez rose to notoriety in 2004, and has been a fixture in gossip media ever since.

But in 2019 a re-read of his "analysis" from 10 years ago is confronting, and his destroying of Mischa Barton in particular was nothing short of cruel.

Mischa was 17 when she booked The OC and spent her late teens and early 20s smack bang in the glare of the limelight.

In the first episode of The Hills New Beginnings which is currently airing on Foxtel, a now 33-year-old Mischa opens up about that time of her life.

"Perez was a total bully back in the day, he was awful to me and lots of women.

"There was a lot of pressure to be really skinny. It's hard when you're young, you take these things to heart," she said.

The Hills New Beginnings trailer. Post continues after video.

Video by Foxtel

The episode also shows a flashback to a podcast Mischa did with Spencer and Heidi in which Spencer remarks; "he has apologised though?"

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"I don't think he really did," she replies.

The look on Mischa's face on the topic of Perez says it all.

She was a 20-something-year-old girl who found herself famous practically overnight, and Perez had front row seats to the Mischa tear-down parade. In fact, he was the one throwing most of the grenades.

Mischa features in the new season of The Hills New Beginnings. Image: Foxtel.

But the problem was, he was throwing grenades in front of an audience of nearly nine million people a day (which was his claimed reach in 2007.)

Spewing filth allows filth to fester and spread, and Perez is part of the reason why Mischa found herself the butt of every joke.

Her weight, her skin, her career ups and downs, her relationships - nothing was off limits.

Sure, the paparazzi's complete disregard for privacy and their glee at a badly angled photo is still alive and well today.

But we do seem to have somewhat evolved from calling people "mushy" or "puffy". With the rise of social media, such language doesn't go by unchecked.

In 2009, the celebrity blogger told the LA Times, "Why would I be sorry? I've built my brand on being a bitch."

He's not just referring to Mischa, he's referring to everyone he's offended over the years.

Perez is due to appear in episode two of The Hills and has opened up online about seeing Mischa at the premiere of the show.

"She saw me and just went scurrying away. She could not have run away faster," he told his YouTube following.

Honestly, we don't blame her.

And we're so glad that the kind of disgusting language used 10 years ago on the regular, would widely be considered unacceptable today.

No one should have to go through the blatant public bullying Mischa and the celebrities of her generation went through.

But while big media might be held more accountable than ever before, abuse directed at stars is more vicious now than ever.

So I suppose we can celebrate the fact that Perez and the bully media of his time have calmed down. But there's a big ol' ugly replacement in his place: social media.

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