Celebrities who fall on tough legal times can often rely on their fellow
stars for support.
Jodie Foster spoke out on Mel Gibson's behalf after
his anti-Semitic tirade last summer. The cast of The View gave Alec Baldwin a
place to explain his custody battle and an angry voicemail message he left for
his 11-year-old daughter. Robert Downey, Jun was welcomed with understanding and
job offers after his multiple drug arrests.
But few Hollywood players have come out in support of Paris Hilton, who was
sentenced to 45 days in jail for violating her probation in an alcohol- related
reckless driving case. The 26-year-old surrendered to sheriff's deputies June 3
and was booked into a Lynwood jail. She was released to home confinement a few
days later, then ordered back behind bars.
A crowd of Hilton fans gathered outside the courthouse on Saturday where she
learned her latest fate. But the hot, young showbiz set that Hilton hangs with
has remained mum on the heiress's plight.
Usually "powerful people protect powerful people", said veteran Hollywood
publicist Michael Levine. "But in this case I don't see any rallying around
her," he said. "She is a person who got into the famous club for nothing and I
think there's some contempt around that."
Howard Bragman, a long- time publicist who runs the public-relations firm
Fifteen Minutes, said Hilton doesn't have the "strong foundation of
relationships in this town" that would motivate famous folks to stand behind
her. "Paris's career was made in a microwave and not in a crock pot," he said,
adding that Hilton lacks the self- awareness that might inspire empathy from her
"You've got to understand and accept responsibility for yourself in order for
people to rally around you," he said.
Before Hilton was sent back to jail on Friday, comedian George Lopez called
her brief stay behind bars "more like a spa treatment than an actual sentence".
"Celebrities get treated lightly by the judicial system," he said. "Wealthy
and affluent and famous people get treated differently than anybody else."
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Hilton did get special treatment
because of her celebrity status: "She got more time in jail."
Host Sarah Silverman cracked a crude joke at Hilton's expense to open last
Sunday's MTV Movie Awards at which the heiress made a surprise appearance. When
the camera panned to Hilton, she was not smiling.
Hugh Hefner has been one of the few celebrities sympathetic to Hilton's
"I feel very badly for her," he said when asked about the heiress.
But Paris-pity or no, Hollywood seldom misses a promotional opportunity. ABC
used the endless publicity surrounding Hilton's case to promote its new TV show,
Dirty Sexy Money. The show focuses on a fictitious family, the Darlings ĘC a
wealthy clan not unlike the Hiltons.
The network placed full-page ads in the Los Angeles Times and the New York
Post that read: "We love Paris. The Darling Family."
An airplane towing a banner with the same message flew above the downtown
courthouse on Friday.