The Man Behind 'Hollywood's Most Hated Web Site'

At the velvet rope line, he still has the look of a gate crasher, but he is very much an insider. He has buddied up with the likes of Paris Hilton, and he's even been asked to host a party for one of the summer's biggest concerts, the True Colors Tour, at Atlantic City's posh Borgata hotel.

Perez Hilton's controversial career as a celebrity blogger on his Web site has made him famous, just like the celebutante who inspired the site's name and later became it's founder's friend.

"I kind of love what the name is all about," he said. "It's satirizing. It's celebrating. And it's a clash of these two worlds, which is what I am. I'm gay, I'm Latino and I've infiltrated this pop culture vernacular world craziness."

"I try not to become friends with celebrities," Hilton said. "Sometimes it just happens."

More often than not he tends to make enemies of celebrities, because he is unafraid to trash them in his blog.

The Long Road to Hollywood

Perez Hilton is the nom de plume of Mario Lavandeira, a former actor and publicist who started blogging in 2004 and writes at a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf outlet on Sunset Boulevard. He set up his "office" there when he started and didn't have Internet access from home. He's been there ever since.

"About six months into it," he said, "I got a call from a TV show, 'The Insider,' saying they were doing a piece on Hollywood's most hated Web sites, and they wanted to include me."

Although he didn't initially agree with the superlative, Hilton has now turned it into his slogan.

"It was like a little bubble went off," he said. "I'm like, wow, this little thing that I started as a hobby is getting me on television. There's something to this."

Hilton relies on a network of publicists, managers, assistants and celebrities themselves for news that he says is always true.

"The best source of information for me are my friends," he said, "because I know them, I trust them. They won't lie to me. They haven't lied to me."

'I Don't Discriminate'

Hilton was one of the first with the news that Britney Spears and Kevin Federline were divorcing. He drew fire for pushing former 'N Sync member Lance Bass out of the closet, and he says he's received death threats for reporting that "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken is gay, something Aiken denies.

"I treat everyone the same," said Hilton. "I don't discriminate. I talk about you whether you're gay or straight, out or not. I'm about normalizing."

"I treat the Web site like a soap opera," he continued. "You know, I think it's important to have heroes and villains and people you are rooting for and against. It's an ongoing story line and that keeps people coming back."

Among the saints: Angelina, Oprah, Madonna.

The sinners? That list goes on and on, and Hilton doesn't hold back.

Tom Cruise? "Crazy."
Lindsay Lohan? "Troubled."
William Shatner? "Canadian? Canadian icon?""

Hilton's Hollywood is a modern "Day of the Locust" -- celebrities stripped of their glamour. He not only shows their flaws, he magnifies them.

"Sometimes there are these flawed characters that can be both hero and villain," said Hilton. "Like Britney Spears. She is better than anything I could ever have written."

No Regrets, Despite 'Harsh' Content

As for regrets, Hilton says he has none. "I don't regret a single thing I've written, and I've written some pretty harsh things."

Harsh might be an understatement.

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