Paris Hilton is drawing from her own traumatic experiences in the “troubled teen industry” to push for change on a federal level.

The This Is Paris star, 40, called on President Joe Biden and Congress to enact reform for youth in congregate care and behavior-modification programs, as she detailed her experiences in the system for an op-ed published Monday by the Washington Post.

She recounted the terrifying “parent-approved kidnapping” she experienced in the middle of the night, adding that her parents fell for the “misleading marketing” of facilities like Provo Canyon School in Utah — which she accused of abuse last year — after spending time there and at other boarding schools as a teenager.

“At all four facilities I was sent to in my teens, I endured physical and psychological abuse by staff: I was choked, slapped across the face, spied on while showering and deprived of sleep. I was called vulgar names and forced to take medication without a diagnosis,” Hilton wrote. “At one Utah facility, I was locked in solitary confinement in a room where the walls were covered in scratch marks and blood stains.”

Hilton called attention to last year’s death of 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick, for which three staff members at the Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, Michigan, were charged with involuntary manslaughter earlier this month. Frederick’s May 2020 death was ruled a homicide, after he was allegedly forcibly restrained by staffers in response to him throwing a sandwich.

Although Lakeside Academy reformed their policies around restraint, Hilton called for systemic change. “No child should die in the name of ‘treatment.’ But too many children have,” she added in her op-ed.

“Congress and President Biden need to enact a basic federal ‘bill of rights’ for youth in congregate care. Every child placed in these facilities should have a right to a safe, humane environment, free from threats and practices of solitary confinement, and physical or chemical restraint at the whim of staff,” Hilton wrote. “Had such rights existed and been enforced, I and countless other survivors could have been spared the abuse and trauma that have haunted us into adulthood.

“Congress must also provide states with funding to create comprehensive reporting systems for incidents of institutional abuse and to establish standards for best practices and staff training. It should also require states to prove that children’s basic rights are being protected.

“Ensuring that children, including at-risk children, are safe from institutional abuse, neglect and coercion isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue — it’s a basic human rights issue that requires immediate action. Those in power have an obligation to protect the powerless,” she concluded.

Hilton first opened up last August about the alleged abuse she faced during her 11 months at Provo Canyon, the fourth and final boarding school she attended. “I knew it was going to be worse than anywhere else,” she told PEOPLE at the time.

“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,” Hilton added. “The staff would say terrible things. They were constantly making me feel bad about myself and bully me. I think it was their goal to break us down. And they were physically abusive, hitting and strangling us. They wanted to instill fear in the kids so we’d be too scared to disobey them.”

When reached by PEOPLE for comment on the allegations, the school responded: “Originally opened in 1971, Provo Canyon School was sold by its previous ownership in August 2000. We therefore cannot comment on the operations or patient experience prior to this time.”

The Simple Life star later released a documentary on the topic, titled This Is Paris. Paris has since protested the school alongside fellow survivors, and she’s been met with support from stars like Drew Barrymore, Paris Jackson and Kat Von D, who’ve said they had similar experiences in facilities like Provo Canyon.

Hilton gave an emotional testimony against Provo Canyon in February, in support of a since-passed bill by Utah State Sen. Michael McKell, which called for reform to the state’s laws surrounding similar institutions.

“After experiencing abuse at Provo Canyon School, it has been incredibly empowering to have advocated for and help pass SB 127 with Senator Mike McKell, a law that increases oversight of the led Teen Industry in Utah and places significant limits on the use of restraint, drugs, and seclusion rooms among other methods,” she told PEOPLE in a statement when the bill passed. “I needed this bill when I was in residential care and I am honored to support the thousands of youth who now have greater protections. This is only the beginning – I plan to approach the federal arena with a bill that will protect youth across the nation in these types of facilities.”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.


Paris Hilton’s digital avatar will soon be sliving on Roblox.

The TV personality-entrepreneur-influencer-podcaster is adding “gamer” to her CV with the launch of Paris World: an outpost on the Roblox gaming platform that will let fans explore a stylized milieu that revolves around the celebrity icon.

Paris World, which officially goes live Oct. 6 on Roblox, is described as “a virtual oasis of fun, possibility and, of course, #sliving” (a term coined by Hilton that fuses “slaying” and “living my best life”). The new gaming experience includes massive DJ stages, Paris’ own house, a zoo and, because why not, a private jet, yacht and her own personal island.

Fans can join Hilton in the kitchen prepping a meal (a nod to her new Netflix show, “Cooking With Paris”), at the beach relaxing or even DJing a virtual festival.

“Roblox is such an amazing gaming platform to be a part of and it’s so exciting to be launching Paris World,” Hilton said in a statement provided to Variety. “I can’t wait for my fans, new users and the gaming community to experience my metaverse.”

Online-radio platform Dash Radio’s DXSH gaming studio division is producing all the events and programming inside the Paris World experience. According to Dash founder DJ Skee (Scott Keeney), with Paris World, DXSH aimed to build “a one-of-a-kind experience that mirrors events happening IRL to the OG influencer, Paris Hilton, into the metaverse that all can experience. We can’t wait for users to see all of the unique events, themes, and takeovers we have planned each week that we believe will launch a new style of entertainment experiences.”

Roblox, which counts more than 200 million monthly active users, lets players interact with each other in user-generated 3D worlds. Roblox is free to play on iOS and Android smartphones, tablets, computers, Xbox One, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Daily active users on Roblox spend an average of 156 minutes (2.6 hours) per day in the game.

In recent months, Roblox has stepped up efforts to recruit music artists and entertainment brands to its platform. Rock group Twenty One Pilots staged an interactive virtual concert Sept. 17 on Roblox, following launch events by KSI, Zara Larsson and Ava Max. This summer, Netflix teamed with Roblox to launch the mall from “Stranger Things” on the game platform.

The company, which went public in an IPO in March, this week announced a deal with the National Music Publishers’ Association settling the NMPA’s $200 million copyright-infringement lawsuit. The deal will let all eligible NMPA publishers negotiate new licensing deals with Roblox.


In today’s crowded influencer space, one of the original creators of the personal brand is looking to take back her crown.

Paris Hilton is back on TV screens with a cooking show on Netflix, her 2020 documentary “This Is Paris” and a new reality show about her engagement to venture capitalist Carter Reum on the way. She has a new memoir in the works, has launched podcasts and sold NFT art.

“I built a global business and brand over the last two decades,” Ms. Hilton said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I wanted to take it to the next level and bring all my companies under one media entity.”

She created her new company, 11:11 Media, with Bruce Gersh, a former Disney and Time Inc. media executive, to cement and expand her brands.

In the 2000s, Ms. Hilton burst into popular culture during the early days of reality television, with “The Simple Life,” securing her image as the quintessential socialite—the partying great-granddaughter of hotel magnate Conrad Hilton. She soon became one of the digital age’s first influencers—before the existence of the term or the proliferation of Facebook or Twitter, let alone the cult of celebrity on Instagram and TikTok.

“Paris is considered one of the first modern celebutantes, which could be defined as a young woman who is not famous for a talent like acting or singing but merely because she is beautiful and wealthy,” said Kelli Burns, an associate professor at the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications at the University of South Florida.

Ms. Hilton paved the way for others who followed, such as Kim Kardashian and her sisters, Dr. Burns said. While the Kardashian clan’s exploits were widely consumed over 20 seasons of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” Ms. Hilton has also been quietly creating an empire of her own.

According to 11:11 Media, Ms. Hilton has since 2006 built a company comprising 45 branded stores and 19 product lines, which have surpassed more than $4 billion in revenue. She has launched 27 fragrances over the past 15 years and has investments in wellness products and a plant-based seafood company.

But social-media influencers are no longer reserved for the wealthy or the few. Ms. Hilton’s re-emergence comes at a time when influencers, famous for being famous, are the norm. Creating a lucrative personal brand is a highly competitive field. Not only are TikTok influencers half her age signing deals in media, television and movies, celebrities and athletes have also moved toward making brands and companies based on their identity.

Influencer marketing is on the rise, and its market size world-wide more than tripled between 2017 and 2020, said Lubna Nafees, an associate professor of marketing at the Walker College of Business, Appalachian State University.

“Increasingly, consumers are turning to social-media influencers to find products and services that align with their lifestyles, which means brands have to work through this channel in order to be present where their consumers are,” said Dr. Nafees, who studies the impact of social-media influencers.

That goes for more traditional celebrities, too. Basketball stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant mix their star status with businesses that span entertainment, endorsement, investments and other sectors. Actresses Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Alba have built successful media and consumer-goods businesses.

“Paris Hilton and Reese Witherspoon are doing exactly that. They are present where their consumers are,” said Dr. Nafees.

Ms. Hilton said she believes media companies in the future will rely less on legacy brands alone and instead lean more on personalities. “I believe we are living in the golden age of creators,” she said. Competition in the influencer space remains fierce. But Ms. Hilton has a distinct advantage, according to Dr. Burns: She has been in the public eye for more than two decades.

“We’re anchored by a global personality and someone who has true influence over consumers,” said Mr. Gersh, Ms. Hilton’s business partner.

To carve out new spaces, Ms. Hilton has doubled down on her roots in media and fashion and was an early adopter of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.

“I’ve always been into innovative tech and am an undercover nerd,” Ms. Hilton said.

The heiress and entrepreneur said she believes NFTs are the future of art, in part, because they give power to digital artists and creators of all types to own the use of their work. Ms. Hilton in June became an investor and adviser to Origin Protocol Inc., a decentralized e-commerce platform. In August 2020, Ms. Hilton sold an NFT drawing she made on an iPad of her kitten for charity. The artwork was bought with cryptocurrency.

As for the name of her new company, Ms. Hilton says she has always found special meaning in the time 11:11. “It’s my favorite time of day,” she said. “I love posting on Twitter at 11:11 to remind myself and my fans to ‘make a wish,’ keep taking risks and keep dreaming.”


MTV Video Music Awards

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