Music artist Lauren Jauregui is speaking out about the trauma of being outed by Perez Hilton, though Hilton does not believe it was his doing.
Jauregui appeared on a recent episode of Red Table Talk: The Estefans focused on online bullying and said celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton outed her to the general public in 2016 after her aunt posted a photo of her and her girlfriend to Facebook.
Jauregui was a member of the band Fifth Harmony at the time. She explained in the episode that the photo had been taken in a photo booth at her uncle’s wedding.
“My aunt very innocently posted the photos from the photo booth onto her Facebook page,” Jauregui said. “It was a link for the family to be able to click on, and my fans are just a little wild, and they found the picture where my girlfriend and I–we were drunk–so we had taken a picture kissing.”
Hilton shared the images after they had begun circulating among Jauregui’s fans.
“He definitely outed me,” she said. “I wasn’t ready because I’m also Latina. There was that whole looming thing of, ‘What is my community going to feel about me? Are they even going to accept me?”‘
She added that she felt like “my own process was violated” and that she was not ready to confront her sexuality on such a large scale.
Hilton, however, sees the situation very differently.
“I’m genuinely sad that she was bothered by that, [but] I’m not gonna fake an apology,” he told People. “It was her fans that caused this photo to go viral. By the time I commented on it, it had already gone viral.”
He posted on Twitter that he does not feel any remorse for what he did.
“When I apologize for something – i’’s [SIC] because I meant it and am genuinely remorseful,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am NOT sorry for that tweet about @LaurenJauregui. That was not ‘outing’ her.”
In a follow up tweet, he continued to defend himself. “All I did was send out a tweet talking about the leaked photo and I said, ‘Why are #FifthHarmony fans being so extra over this photo of @LaurenJauregui (in the red0 kissing another girl? NBD!’ I don’t regret that. I never claimed or presumed anything about her sexuality.”
Hilton doubled down when a fan pushed him on it, writing “even if you didn’t mean it at the time. She’s now spoken on the effect it had on her, and you still aren’t sorry?”
“I’m not sorry,” Hilton responded. “And I would do it again.”
— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) December 8, 2021
Jauregui also addressed the situation on Twitter, writing that she does not want to “rehash drama” and that she was “speaking about these things from a healed place.”
She didn’t mention Hilton by time, but she appeared to be urging fans not to express any outrage toward him.
“Bringing awareness to such a topic would be completely in vain if we took this opportunity to send hate and nasty shit to anyone. It doesn’t matter who they are or what was done, returning venom doesn’t solve anything and it contributes to this nasty culture.”
Hi loves, I know this episode was intense but I wanna be clear that I’m speaking about these things from a healed place. I don’t wanna rehash drama or center my story on either of these happenings, they were my contribution to a larger conversation of cyber bullying. With that
— PRELUDE (@LaurenJauregui) December 10, 2021
Buzzfeed reported that Hilton will appear on Red Table Talk: The Estefans next week to discuss his side of the story.