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The Project's Sarah Harris slams 'disgusting' Paris Hilton backlash

An excerpt from Paris Hilton's memoir sheds new light on her leaked sex tape.

The Project hosts have called out the ‘disgusting’ treatment of socialite Paris Hilton after she addressed how her sex tape was made public without her permission. The star, 19 at the time, claims she was coerced into making the intimate recording by her then-29-year-old boyfriend.

According to Paris’ new book, Paris: The Memoir, she allowed him to film their explicit act after he promised that “no one else would ever see” the video. After a segment that delved into the treatment of Paris played on The Project, Sarah Harris didn’t hold back with her strong opinion.

L: Paris Hilton poses against a leaf backdrop. R: Sarah Harris looks concerned on The Project
The Project host Sarah Harris has weighed in on Paris Hilton's infamous sex tape leak. Photo: Instagram/parishilton & Ten

“What happened to Paris Hilton all those years ago, by today’s definition, would be revenge porn,” Sarah started. “She made this tape with her partner, and he released it without her consent.

“In fact, he released it despite her pleas not to have it released, that’s disgusting.”

In her memoir, the reality TV star says that she had to “drink herself silly” and take Quaaludes to contain her nerves while the tape was recorded in 2001. Three years later, a shortened version of the video was released, and Paris asked her ex not to leak the full version, now known as 1 Night in Paris.

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“[He said he] had every right to sell something that belonged to him — something that had a lot of financial value,” she writes.

“If this was something I had chosen to do, I would have owned it…I would have stood by it, capitalised on it, licensed the s**t out of every frame, and then boogied on over to the bank without apologising to anyone.”

The Stars Are Blind singer said she felt a wave of “shame, loss and stark terror” once the tape went public. “I felt like my life was over, and in many ways it was. Certainly, the career I had envisioned was no longer possible.”

Guest Project panellist Liz Ellis added that while Paris’ incident happened almost two decades ago, people need to be aware that women are still “coerced into doing things that they’re not comfortable with”.

“Every telephone is a camera, so I feel like we still have to be really wary about this sort of stuff when it comes up and not cast a woman in a particular light. Because it’s always the woman who gets slammed and hurt, it’s her career that really suffers,” she explained.

Co-host Waleed Aly, who recently interviewed Pamela Anderson about her own leaked sex tape, made the point that those who seek out content shared without consent could be part of the bigger problem.

The Project's Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris
The Project's Waleed Aly also warned against seeking out leaked content. Photo: Ten

“Anybody who is watching it, is — knowingly or otherwise — complicit in this trauma that they’re experiencing,” he said, before adding that with the introduction of OnlyFans and social media, X-rated content is “ubiquitous”.

“We don’t know the backstories. We don’t know if in 10, 20 years, they’ll come out and tell a similar story to [Paris]. Are we meant to be pausing now when that stuff comes in?” he asked.

For image-based abuse support, visit www.esafety.gov.au/key-issues/image-based-abuse or you can call 1800respect on 1800 737 732.

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