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‘I was dragged down hallways and stripped naked.’ Paris Hilton shared a truly chilling story from her past.

Content warning: This post deals with child abuse and may be triggering to some readers.

Paris Hilton, who is often regarded as the original influencer, became 'famous for being famous' by using what she refers to as her on-screen "rich, dumb blonde" act. 

But in 2020, Hilton took off the mask and revealed her real personality, admitting that she has spent the past two decades playing a character.

It all stemmed from alleged abuse she endured in her teenage years. Now she's testifying in court about it.

Back in 2020, the Hilton Hotel heiress pulled back the curtain on her life in her YouTube documentary, This Is Paris.

While the documentary was originally intended to showcase an unvarnished side of Hilton, the focus of the documentary soon turned to Hilton's experience at Provo Canyon School, a treatment centre for "troubled youths" in Utah.

Watch the trailer for Paris Hilton's new documentary, This Is Paris, below. Post continues after podcast.


Video via YouTube.
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After moving to New York City with her family as a teenager, Hilton had become increasingly involved in the local party scene, and her parents were concerned.

"I think I just got addicted to the nightlife," she explained in This is Paris. "I felt accepted. I just felt like the queen of the night. That's where I really became Paris."

Hilton's parents, Kathy and Rick, sent her to a number of different programs and 'emotional growth schools' for 'troubled teens', including an outdoor wilderness program which involved "basically doing manual labour all day long".

Then, at 17, she was taken from her bed in the middle of the night and transported to Provo Canyon School, where she would spend 11 months.

"It was the middle of the night, and I just heard screaming bloody murder. I knew there was a takedown in the works. I didn't know it was people coming in and capturing her," Hilton's younger sister, Nicky, recalled.

"I thought I was being kidnapped," Paris added.

In the documentary, Paris recalled regularly being given mystery pills at the school, and being sent to solitary confinement for up to 20 hours with no clothes.

"[That] was the worst of the worst," she said.

"There was no getting out of there. You are sitting on a chair, staring at a wall all day long, getting yelled at or hit. I felt like a lot of the people that worked there got off on torturing children and seeing them naked."

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Image: YouTube. Speaking to People, Hilton said she now suffers from recurring nightmares as a result of her experience at Provo.

"It was supposed to be a school, but [classes] were not the focus at all. From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture," she told the publication.

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"[The staff] were constantly making me feel bad about myself and bullying me. I think it was their goal to break us down. And they were physically abusive, hitting and strangling us. They wanted to instil fear in the kids so we'd be too scared to disobey them."

In 2020, Hilton met with a group of students who attended Provo at the same time as her. The women spent 12 hours at Hilton's home bonding over their experiences. 

While discussing their experiences, one woman claimed that she was assigned a therapist with no certifications who pushed religious beliefs on her.

Another woman claimed that she "witnessed and endured physical, emotional and mental abuse" at Provo. 

"I was forced onto medications, I was told that everything that happened to me was all my fault," she added.

For the past four years now, Hilton has been urging lawmakers to pass legislation requiring more regulation of the controversial programs.

"Although Provo Canyon School marketed itself as a premier treatment centre, it was as if hell itself was on Earth. I cried myself to sleep every single night, praying I would wake up from this nightmare."

Hilton also claimed that she "didn't breathe fresh air or see the sunlight for 11 months" at Provo Canyon School.

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"One day in isolation felt like a week," she said. "That small room covered in scratch marks and smeared blood with no bathroom is one of the most vivid and traumatising memories I've ever experienced in my entire life."

This week, Hilton has appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee, which is part of the United States House of Representatives. The hearing is focused on foster care and providing families with resources and support so as to avoid more people entering the child welfare system. 

Listen to part of this story be detailed on Mamamia's pop culture podcast, The Spill. Post continues after audio.


At the hearing, Hilton said: "I was force-fed medications and sexually abused by the staff. I was violently restrained and dragged down hallways, stripped naked, and thrown into solitary confinement. My parents were completely deceived — lied to and manipulated by this for-profit industry about the inhumane treatment I was experiencing."

"So can you only imagine the experience for youth who are placed by the state and don't have people regularly checking in on them? As a mum, these stories break my heart," the mother of two noted.

This isn't the first time Hilton has testified.

Hilton has previously visited Washington DC to advocate for child safety, including a 2022 visit where she met with White House policy staff and other survivors to discuss institutionalised American youth.

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A number of women have shared their experiences from Provo on social media, including model and tattoo artist Kat Von D.

She shared how she was sent to Provo Canyon School after she started listening to punk music and started to "look a little different".

"I think [my parents] were just terrified I was going down the wrong path," Von D shared. "I'd started tattooing and dropped out of high school and I think they just didn't know what to do with me."

After being taken from her room in the middle of the night, Von D spent six months at the school, including her 16th birthday.

After being taken from her room and flown to Utah blindfolded, Von D was strip-searched before having her head shaved.

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"Once we got there, they did a strip search, which was completely degrading, I remember having to get naked in front of this person, I don't know their credentials. I have no idea who they were," she said.

"I was 15 years old. I was like a kid."

While at the school, Von D, now 38 years old, was falsely told that she had contracted HIV through a tattoo.

"I went through those entire six months thinking I had HIV. And this was just a scare tactic to try to get me to stop tattooing," she recalled.

She also recalled other students at the school being subjected to severe punishments, including being forced to stare at a blank wall for "hours on end".

Since Hilton's now-viral documentary, Provo Canyon School has responded to the allegations. 

"We are aware of media referencing Provo Canyon School. Please note that PCS was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to that time," they said in a statement.

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"We are committed to providing high-quality care to youth with special, and often complex, emotional, behavioural and psychiatric needs. We do not condone or promote any form of abuse."

Hilton has said that opening up about her experience has been difficult. But she wants people to hear her story to know that speaking out can help prevent other tragedies from occurring.

"I'm going to be honest — talking about something so personal was, and is still, terrifying," Hilton testified in court. 

"But I cannot go to sleep at night knowing that there are children that are enduring the same abuse that I and so many others went through, and neither should you."

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

If this brings up any issues for you, contact Bravehearts, an organisation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse, on 1800 272 831. 

This article was originally published in October 2021, and has since been updated with new information.

Feature Image: AAP.