Recently Perez has moved to change that: He says he is trying to bring a more upbeat and less vicious tone to his blog posts, and focusing more on charity.
One of his newer projects, for example, is his "One Night In…" concerts. He has hosted them in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, and London, and performing artists have included Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Courtney Love, Katy Perry, the Ting Tings, Estelle, and Kanye West. His latest event,"One Night In Austin," will be held Saturday night (March 17) to coincide with SXSW. Proceeds from the event will benefit the VH1Save the Music charity.
Hilton's decision to support Save the Music is part of his bigger plan to rethink his persona and the impact he's making on the world.
"I'm trying to move past all that [negativity] and am trying to focus on positive energy out there," said Perez. He is careful to point out that the change has been organic rather than the result of a calculated business decision. "The universe is telling me what I need to do," he said.
The attempted shift toward a kinder, gentler Perez hasn't been without its rewards.
"People have been responding in a good way to this new direction," he said. "Everything is connected, and though I made that shift two years ago, now that positive energy is making its way back to me."
Hilton said, for example, that celebrities have been more positive toward him – which, he admits, has been good for business.
"Celebrities are coming up to me at events, and unlike in the past, they are being positive and appreciating the new direction I'm going in," he said. He doesn't doubt it's also helped his ad team sell more ads and helped him affiliate with more brands.
He's currently featured prominently in a Lean Pockets advertising campaign, and his site recently featured a big ad campaign for Fran Drescher's TV Land show, "Happily Divorced."
Not all sweetness and light
Hilton said anyone in any business ultimately has to change with the times.
"I'm not going to be defined by my past or prevent me from moving forward. A person or business who is unable to evolve or grow will ultimately die or falter," he said.
Hilton cites the example of Oprah Winfrey's decision to stop featuring salacious topics on her show and to reinvent herself as a New Age purveyor of enlightened content.