Lauren Jauregui says she felt "violated" when Perez Hilton outed her
10 December 2021, 11:50
Perez Hilton leaked photos of Lauren kissing her then-girlfriend in a photo booth.
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Lauren Jauregui says she felt "violated" when she was outed about her sexuality by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.
In 2016, Perez Hilton (who has a history of outing celebs like Lance Bass and Neil Patrick Harris) shared photos of the Fifth Harmony star kissing her then-girlfriend. The intimate photos were taken in a photo booth at Lauren's uncle's wedding and then posted on Facebook by an aunt.
Lauren's fans found the private images and then Perez shared them on his Twitter page. Speaking on Red Table Talk: The Estefans, Lauren – who now identifies as bisexual and sexually fluid – opened up about how she felt "violated" by Perez's actions. "I'd been dating the girlfriend that I've had at the time for probably a year at that point, but we had fallen in love when I was 15," she explained.
"I was at my uncle's wedding in New Orleans, and my aunt very innocently posted the photos from the photo booth onto her Facebook page. 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 – [were] kissing."
She added: "He definitely outed me. 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?'"
"I know that my family obviously accepted me. But was that something that I was willing to deal with on a public scale? I felt like my own process was violated."
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 red) kissing another girl? NBD!" I don't regret that. I never claimed or presumed anything about her sexuality.— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) December 8, 2021
Kissing someone of the same sex in a photo booth is playful and so many people do that. It does not mean that person is gay, bi, queer or whatever. Watch this episode of @RedTableTalk: The Estefans in full on @FacebookWatch. pic.twitter.com/T9WdCv2MOq— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) December 8, 2021
After the episode aired, Perez refused to apologise to Lauren. In fact, he doubled down on his actions. He tweeted: "When I apologize for something it's because I meant it and am genuinely remorseful. I am NOT sorry for that tweet about @LaurenJauregui. That was not 'outing' her.
"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 red) kissing another girl? NBD!' I don't regret that. I never claimed or presumed anything about her sexuality. Kissing someone of the same sex in a photo booth is playful and so many people do that. It does not mean that person is gay, bi, queer or whatever."
In a statement to PEOPLE, Perez went into further detail about the incident: "I'm genuinely sad that she was bothered by that, [but] I'm not gonna fake an apology. It was her fans that caused this photo to go viral. By the time I commented on it, it had already gone viral. It wasn't like I was given this piece of information or a photo and I was the first person to share it with the world; it was already trending by the time I chimed in."
Perez has said that he has not spoken to Lauren about the whole outing incident, but he has spoken to her ex-girlfriend. Next week, Perez will also appear on Red Table Talk: The Estefans to address the issue.
This week on the Coming Out Chats podcast, trans activist Charlie Craggs and TikTok superstar NoseBleedFitz open up about their coming out journeys, their experiences accessing health care in the UK, staying in touch with teachers, and drawing strength from the trans community.