Paris Hilton: My mom changes the subject when I talk about the abuse at boarding school

Paris Hilton is off on her honeymoon with husband Carter Reum. Her ‘fantasy’ three-day wedding celebration was documented for the cameras for a Peacock series called Paris in Love that is currently streaming. I haven’t seen it but apparently the wedding wasn’t the only subject broached. According to Yahoo, Paris discussed her docu-series, This is Paris with her brother Barron in which she talked about her abuse at the Provo Canyon School. Paris had been sent to PC School by her parents to ‘correct’ her behavior after she acted out in New York City in the 90s. But Paris claimed what took place at the school was not corrective but rather torture. She’s testified against the school both in Utah and before Congress since speaking out about her treatment. I am not a Paris apologist but I am gutted by what happened to her at the PC School and very impressed she used her voice to work towards reform. Her mother, Kathy Hilton, however, doesn’t want to talk about it. According to Paris’ discussion with Barron, every time she brings the subject up, Kathy changes the topic to something else. And she’s never watched Paris’ series on it either.

Paris Hilton says her parents haven’t yet watched her documentary about the alleged abuse she suffered at a boarding school for troubled teens.

The entrepreneur, who married Carter Reum earlier this month, spoke about the situation in her Peacock series Paris In Love, which is about the “Stars Are Blind” singer planning her star-studded wedding. In a conversation with her brother, Barron Hilton, she talked about her YouTube documentary series This Is Paris, in which she opened up for the first time about her experience at the Provo Canyon School.

Though the school claims to help teenagers battling mental health issues, it has faced years of abuse allegations from previous students. In her documentary series, Hilton said the school was a “torture camp,” where she was “verbally, physically, emotionally, psychologically abused on a daily basis.”

Hilton, whose parents Kathy and Richard Hilton sent her to the school in the ‘90s after she acted out while living in New York City, told Barron that she and her parents have not spoken about what she discussed in This Is Paris, and that neither have watched the series.

“Every time I bring up Provo, my mom changes the subject,” she told the cameras. “I don’t want to hurt her feelings, I don’t want to upset her.”

When Barron asked if she would want to sit down with her family to discuss her experiences, Hilton said that they “don’t like talking about things.”

“Mom is just so fun and chill, she doesn’t really like to get serious,” Hilton explained. “I’ve never really had a serious, deep conversation about things like that. She doesn’t like to think about that. She just likes to be happy. I don’t want to kill her vibe.”

[From Yahoo!]

I know Paris is extremely problematic. Unfortunately, her PC School stories come far too close to home for me to not feel for her. It will be hard for me to look at Kathy the same way again listening to this. I remember one line in the promo for This is Paris in which Kathy defended herself by saying that they had no idea, they thought they were helping. Until you’ve had any interaction with a psyche ward, a juvenile correctional institution or in-house rehabilitation center, you simply have no idea that they are not operating for the benefit of the children they’re treating. Whether the child was admitted voluntarily or not, most of these places are just managing them while looking to keep their money coming in, be it from rich parents or insurance companies. Kathy ignoring Paris’ experience makes me see red. Paris will be healing from this the rest of her life and Kathy needs to help that. To put the onus of that entire experience on Paris, including shielding Kathy from the decision she made for her daughter so her “vibe” doesn’t get thrown off, is tragic.

In February, Paris spoke in Washington DC as I mentioned. At that time, Kathy posted how proud she was of Paris for doing so. In her caption Kathy wrote, “I am honored to stand by her side as she uses her voice to shed light on this important issue and mission.” But she’s not by Paris’ side. If Kathy won’t even hear Paris’ story, she’s turned her back on her.


Photo credit: Instagram and Avalon Red

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36 Responses to “Paris Hilton: My mom changes the subject when I talk about the abuse at boarding school”

  1. Courtney B says:

    Not to be a Kathy apologist but if you know about their mom it makes more sense. She completely fostered that kind of ‘it’s fine’ don’t talk about things, especially painful things environment. You see it on Real Housewives with all three of her daughters. Especially in regards to Kim’s alcoholism. She really messed them up. Kyle seems the most adjusted, maybe being the youngest, but it’s a low bar. I think Kathy’s ‘happy vibe’ is because she doesn’t trust what will happen if she actually confronts anything. Hopefully the next generation of the various children play out better.

    • Sid says:

      I believe Kyle and Kim are Kathy’s half-sisters from her mother’s second marriage. I imagine the environment her mother and stepfather created has more to do with it.

      • Courtney B says:

        Yes, she was. The stepfather was a bit of a non entity who let Big Kathy run the show. Kathy was largely out of the house asap. She married at 20 I think. (She and Rick were together since they were 15) His hands off approach was in and of itself a problem. And look up Big Kathy’s behavior towards her own children as well as the wife of her second husband (he was married at the time she set her sights on him.) Total psycho.But if you read any books or articles on the dynamic you can see what a heinous, awful person she was. Especially House of Hilton. It’s pretty crazy. And yet those women worship her memory. She makes Kris Jenner look like mother of the year when it came to pimping the girls out and fostering a toxic relationship. And I mean pimping literally.

    • Sofia says:

      I think Kathy, Kim and Kyle were raised to push everything under the rug and never talk or confront “serious” topics. Hence why Kathy doesn’t talk about the abuse Paris faced and why Kim’s addiction was never really faced with in the family. And now that Kathy should, she just don’t know how to do it because that’s now how she was raised or taught to do.

      I think it’s a combination of how they were raised, the generation they’re a part of and the family Kathy married into.

    • Gigi LaMoore says:

      Kyle seems the most adjusted as being a complete and total shit stirrer and phony. I understand Kathy’s upbringing but she needs to work through it. Her child should be able to talk to her and find support, not silence.

      • Courtney B says:

        Yes on both accounts. Kyle is well adjusted when it comes to her family life with her daughters. But she’s an absolute shit stirrer. And yes Kathy should but I suspect it’s too late. She married young and doesn’t seem to have progressed much in emotional health. You’d think escaping earlier would’ve made that different but their mom had her tentacles in deep.

    • GraceB says:

      I’m with you on that. Kathy made a huge mistake in sending her daughter to that school, and she knows it. As a mother, it must be heartbreaking to know you’ve made a decision which has placed your child in harms way. While Paris is trying to come to terms with what has happened to her, Kathy is on a journey to come to terms with the consequences of her decision.

      Ideally, as a mother, she’d prioritise supporting Paris, but some people just don’t have the skills to cope with their own trauma, at the same time as someone else’s trauma, particularly when they’re interwoven. Just watching Kathy on RHWOBH, you see her zone out at all the drama. She can’t handle it, so appears to never be listening. Then you see subjects which are personal for her come up, and she breaks down. This isn’t someone who’s been given the tools to cope in these kinds of situations.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ GraceB, that was my take with it as an outsider as I have never watched anything related to the Hilton’s from either generation. I think that Kathy doesn’t want to face the fact that she and her husband sent Paris to that school. It was due to their decisions that created this tremendous harm against Paris. I am certain, I hope, that both of her parents feel responsible for what happened but don’t want to discuss is as there in an enormous elephant in the room. Paris needs to have a mediator with her and her parents to discuss what happened. Maybe Kathy feels guilty and doesn’t want Paris to blame her, or maybe Kathy just does not want to talk about it. Either way, they are going to have to discuss it with both parents.

    • Ry says:

      I watch real housewives too. I almost want to apologize lol. But it can grab you, these reality shows,, especially if you’re stuck at home.
      Kathy has an avoidance nature. She was raised to focus on luxury, looks and marrying rich. That’s it. Not a particularly deep existence for someone who wasn’t naturally inclined toward depth to begin with. She’s essentially hamless in a way, yet that level of being harmless can be harmful when you bury your head in the sand to what’s going on around you. She’s never really had to fight for anything or think about anything. Big Kathy arranged it that way.
      Now that matriarch was a real piece of work. You should read about Big Kathy as she’s known. Not a size thing lol

  2. Stef says:

    Abuse like this, especially in the formative years when Paris experienced it, will linger for a lifetime, sometimes into the next generation and beyond. I’m no Paris fan and I’m proud of her for doing the work to address the abuse. She’s helping others by speaking out and that is amazing.

    Kathy is of that old-school “don’t ask, don’t tell” generation where corporal parenting was OK. I’m so glad to live in this generation where it’s starting to become OK to talk about our childhood abuse, how it messed us up, and how we can make changes for our children.

  3. Bookie says:

    Paris is growing on me. If people judged me in my 40s by my behavior in my 20s, I’d be in big trouble. :)

    That dress is gorgeous.

    • Kristin says:

      Yes but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you probably weren’t a hugely racist asshole in your 20s either. Many of Paris’s long-time friends have gone on record stating that she was incredibly racist, regularly dropped the n-word and openly joked about how black men were so disgusting and she would never touch them. That’s not just being a wild party girl. That’s a hugely toxic person who wasn’t a teenager but was in her 20s. We’ve certainly canceled people on this site for less. I do sympathize what she went through with this awful boarding school but I just don’t want us to sweep her behavior under the rug because we sympathize with her.

      • Nicole says:

        If I could star you I would.

      • Jules says:

        Yea she has done nothing to apologize for her shitty behavior or show us how she’s changed. Instead she’s posting the same vapid photos as always and talking in her little baby voice. Real change takes time, work, therapy, and genuine self reflection. She’s an adult now and needs to take responsibility for her life…. especially if she is going to have children.

  4. Seraphina says:

    That last quote is so problematic. How can a mother give off the vibe that the kids can’t talk seriously with her????? When I see a change in my child, I immediately begin to ask questions. They roll their eyes sometimes, but it is my responsibility to ensure everything is ok. I am truly aghast with what Paris said about her mom. And my anger is aimed at her mother not Paris.
    Now the question for me is whether or not Kathy is trying to block out other issues that she realizes may have caused dysfunction with her children and this is part of that – not talking about the trauma Paris endured.

  5. Ann says:

    Those schools often just make things worse. My daughter had a friend who was sent to one because she was smoking pot, which basically half of the kids in her class were doing. Her parents were going through a divorce, and she was acting out some, but would have been much better off staying at home with supportive parents and therapy. At any rate, the school didn’t help and she became more of a hard drug user. Sometimes “tough love” isn’t love, it’s just tough, as in brutal.

    I’m sorry to hear this. I’m glad Paris spoke up about it.

    • t'otter says:

      Bless Paris for speaking about this, I have not heard anyone else address this and there are too many victims who have been without a voice for decades.

  6. caitlinsmom says:

    As someone who was also involuntarily placed “elsewhere” by my parents, (in my case a psych ward) I feel for everything Paris has said, but the day will come when she won’t be able to continue to allow her mother to rug sweep what happened to her. That day of reckoning is going to come. She’s going to want answers from her parents. Sadly, nothing they can say will ever, ever erase her lived experiences.

    • Trufflefries says:

      Agreed and I believe that time may come once/if Paris has her own kids. My mother is just like Kathy and the level of strain that we have had in our relationship since I’ve had kids is kinda insane. I’m deliberately working to do things differently for my kids and this includes being emotionally available to them in ways that I didn’t have as a child and frankly now.

  7. Beenie says:

    I went to a very, very similar therapeutic boarding school out West at the exact same time as Paris. I also went to a wilderness program in Idaho and stayed in a juvenile halfway house for a few months. I am just slightly younger than Paris but I was in these facilities from age 14 through 16.

    I dont have much or a relationship with my parents. To be fair, I’m not sure I would have even if I hadn’t been sent away. But 100% this is not something my mother is capable of talking about. Let me give just one example:

    Near the end of my stay, the one male staff at our school (38 years old) sexually abused 3 different girls ages 16-17. I knew about it for several weeks, he knew I knew and cornered me with threats. He did the same to other girls. After a couple months of this I finally got up the nerve to tell on him along with 2 other students (we weren’t being abused). The response from the school was the most muted, “we’ll look into it” response I could have ever imagined. They did not take it seriously, even when I sat in the room as one of the girls he had been making give him oral sex for weeks told her story. Anyway, he caught wind he was being looked at and fled the state. Ends up there was a warrant out for his arrest in another state for sexual abuse of minors. I guess the school never ran a background check….

    All of this to say, when my mother found out that I had come forward as a 16 year old to report on a 38 year old man who had been preying on teens in the school, her response was mostly “oh, well that’s not good” and she KEPT ME IN THE SCHOOL. She never, ever enquired about it again, and the few times I mentioned it she would tsk and change the topic or leave the room.

    I have many more stories but don’t want to bore you with an essay. I guess my point was that I am am absolutely not surprised even a little bit that the mother doesn’t want to talk about it. I have had the exact same experience.

    • Chicken Tetrazzini says:

      This is horrific and I’m so sorry you went through all this.

    • Renee says:

      Beenie, what a horrible experience you went through. I am so sorry you had to endure that. I hope you are in a better place (emotional) now. *Hugs*

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Beenie, I am incredibly sorry that you had to endure this sexual predator trying to intimate you into silence, while the school did not take the accusations seriously. I commend you for being so brave to speak out and up!! I feel awful for you being the only adult in that entire scenario as the school just brushed it aside. All while he was a known sexual predator and he was actively involved in sexual assault on young girls. Brava for speaking out and exposing him, that was courageous and you gave those girls an advocate!! I hope that you are in a better place emotionally as that must have been traumatic!! Sending you good juju!!

  8. Chicago says:

    Aw, so Kathy Hilton just wants to be happy, does she? She doesn’t want to talk about things that are so important to her daughter she made a documentary about it? Kathy Hilton just doesn’t want her kids to kill her vibe? Yes, she just wants to be happy.
    I feel for Paris.

    • DP says:

      I’ve been really enjoying Kathy on RHOBH bc she’s so ridiculous and funny. “Who’s Hunky Dory?”
      Clearly in real life this kind of behavior is shallow and selfish. In this case, it’s cruel and inconsiderate. A parent should protect her children and help them heal. Ignoring it is most likely creating more trauma.
      My In-laws are like this… they act like someone is creating a problem when they are actually only addressing a problem. It’s dangerous and hurtful. It invalidates the persons feelings and experiences and hurts them more!

  9. Piratewench says:

    It sounds like Paris has been protecting her mother since she was very young.
    A mother is supposed to protect the daughter, not the other way around.
    This inversion is parentification, and a classic sign of a narcissistic parent. Paris is actually very strong to continue a close relationship with a parent who couldn’t fulfill the role, and who put her own comfort and “good vibe” before the health and safety of her child.

    It would probably be so healing to Paris to be heard by her mother. To be listened to, to be told she didn’t deserve it, to be apologized to. For Kathy to refuse to do any of that is really messed up and selfish, and prolongs Paris’ trauma.

  10. Emma says:

    I hope they can try to work through this together, and get counseling and therapy.

    I’m also wondering, was no one ever charged with a crime in relation to this abuse? Who committed it? I know the school is defunct but probably a lot of its former employees are still alive and just lying low or perhaps working with and abusing children still.

  11. MF1 says:

    Samantha Bee just did an excellent episode on the therapeutic school industry. Highly recommended. She gets into detail on how bad these schools are and how dangerous the lack of regulation is.

  12. Gubbinal says:

    I never gave the Hilton girl a thought before but I know something about institutionalized teenagers and the damage and danger of spending so much time being punished, belittled, gaslit. It can happen to anyone.

    My parents locked me up (psych ward) for 3 years when I was 14-17. It was amazing the number of “psych” patients who had the diagnosis of “adolescent adjustment disorder”–which means to the layman that you peeved your parents. I spent 3 years in a bin. Many of the people I knew had irritated their parents with a very petty crime or “talking back”.

    • iconoclast59 says:

      I worked at a hospital from 1981-1986 as an imaging tech. The hospital was in a wealthy community. It had a psych ward, and most of the patients were teenagers. Inpatient psych care for teens was a definite thing then. Your story supports what I long suspected, that many of these kids weren’t mentally ill so much as just going through the normal testing of boundaries that happens at that age. I’m sorry you went through that, and wish you peace and healing going forward.

  13. iconoclast59 says:

    Nicky isn’t much better. I remember a scene in This Is Paris where Paris was talking to Nicky about what happened to her, and Nicky pretty much dismissed it with an airy, “Well, you were always the naughty one.” People give Paris a lot of crap for being superficial and vapid, but it seems she comes by it honestly. Her family is incapable of doing an emotional deep dive, and it makes sense that Paris’ takeaway would be that image matters more than substance.

  14. Meg says:

    “Kathy ignoring Paris’ experience makes me see red. Paris will be healing from this the rest of her life and Kathy needs to help that. To put the onus of that entire experience on Paris, including shielding Kathy from the decision she made for her daughter so her “vibe” doesn’t get thrown off, is tragic.
    Kathy posted how proud she was of Paris. In her caption Kathy wrote, ‘ I am honored to stand by her side…’ But she’s not by Paris’ side. If Kathy won’t even hear Paris’ story, she’s turned her back on her.”
    Kathy does sound narcissistic, like shes above ‘taking her lumps’ so to speak, to hear the pain her decision caused her daughter

  15. DaphneOG says:

    She comes off to me as very childlike on Paris in Love. I feel for her. I hope she has a good therapist.

  16. Same says:

    It can’t be that hard to look at your child and say “I’m sorry”

  17. jferber says:

    Is it just me, or does the mother look younger than the daughter?

  18. JJ says:

    I went to college for Psychology and one of the things that interested me was wilderness therapy, etc, (am a little granola) and one road of work I debated was what ended up being places like these, though I only saw the kind of information they were putting out there — that it is all helping and nature and good sweat.
    I ended up going in a different direction and only heard about the true nature of these places when Paris started talking about it a few years ago (and maybe John Oliver??)
    I can’t believe what a huge bullet I dodged! WTF! 99% of these places sound terrible and I feel for any child that has been forced to go to them. I can’t believe how little oversight there is.

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