Paris Hilton's racism is well documented. In his forthcoming book Everyone Loves You When You're Dead, professional poon-chaser Neil Strauss adds another instance of Hilton horror: When she was 18, Paris told Strauss she had a "one percent" rule against dating black men. "I can't stand black guys. I would never touch one. It's gross."
In 1999, shortly after moving to Los Angeles to cover pop culture for the New York Times, I ended up in a room with someone I'd never heard of before. She seemed to embody young Hollywood. She didn't want to be an actress, a singer, or a star—though she would soon become all three. The art form she'd chosen to embrace was partying. She was with a model friend of hers and talking about performing a sex show together for someone named Artie the previous night, then taking dirty photographs afterward. In the background as we spoke, the movie Saving Private Ryan was playing. After this conversation, she proceeded to get drunk on Midori sours (each with six cherries in the glass), make out with David Faustino of Married… with Children, take a hit of ecstasy, play Britney Spears songs practically nonstop, and have a threesome Maybe she said what follows for provocation and shock value. Maybe she didn't. You decide…
PARIS HILTON: I had a breast job when I was fourteen, but my mother made me take them out.
How old are you now?
HILTON: I'm eighteen.
Are you working?
HILTON: I'm thinking about posing for Playboy. They love famous people's kids.
HILTON: I don't know. And the only reason I'd do it is because when my dad finds out, he'll pay me double the money not to do it.
HILTON: I went out with that guy last night.
HILTON (points to an actor in Saving Private Ryan): We were making out, but then we went somewhere where it was bright and I saw he was black and made an excuse and left. I can't stand black guys. I would never touch one. It's gross. (pauses) Does that guy look black to you?
How black does a guy have to be?
HILTON: One percent is enough for me.
I'm guessing Paris said the vast majority of that for shock value. (She never posed for Playboy, and the boob job story sounds suspiciously like Kimberly Stewart's.) But it's still, to borrow a word, "gross." Paris may be noxious now, but as an 18-year-old in 1999—those halcyon days before Girls Gone Wild caught on, before George W. Bush took office, and before Lindsay Lohan hit puberty—Paris Hilton may actually have been the most noxious person in America.