At just 17 years old, Paris Hilton was sent to a boarding school that she is now accusing of abuse. Despite the ordeal, Paris EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife why she holds no resentment against her parents, Kathy and Richard Hilton, today.
Paris Hilton has a forgiving heart two decades after her parents, Kathy and Richard Hilton, sent her to a boarding school that she has accused of physically and mentally abusing its students. For the first time ever, the 39-year-old entrepreneur and DJ opened up about the schooling experience that left her traumatized in her new documentary This Is Paris, which dropped on YouTube on Sept. 14. Paris EXCLUSIVELY spoke with HollywoodLife on the very same day of the documentary’s premiere, and told us why she didn’t let the experience — which she endured for 11 months, up until her 18th birthday in 1999 — ruin her relationship with her parents.
When asked if Paris still holds resentment against her parents today, Paris admitted, “No, because it wasn’t their fault. They had no idea.” She went on to accuse “the staff at these places” of “manipulat[ing] these families, thinking that your child is going to be safe and they had no clue.” Paris explained that her parents didn’t know much about the school, which was the Provo Canyon School in Utah for so deemed troubled teens.
“They just thought it was a normal boarding school and I think a lot of parents just have no idea what’s happening at these places, but there’s serious abuse that’s happening and it’s happening today as well,” Paris continued. Efforts to communicate with her parents ended up unsuccessful, according to Paris.
“When I was there and I tried to tell them, the staff would hang up the phone and punish me and take away the phone privileges so I wasn’t allowed to tell me family and if I tried to write them a letter about it, they would rip up the letter,” Paris claimed. The Simple Life star added, “I was cut off from the outside world so I couldn’t tell them. Then when I left there, I made a promise to myself that I was never going to talk about it again, I was just going to pretend that it never happened. I never even discussed it with my family until filming this documentary and that’s when I finally opened up to my mom about it.”
Even while she was enrolled at the school, Paris admitted that she never truly despised her parents. “Just during that time, I did say that I hated my parents, but I didn’t really mean it, I guess,” she explained. Regardless, Paris made it clear that her party girl ways as a teenager in New York City did not justify being sent to such a school. “I was upset, obviously. I didn’t deserve to be there. All I did was literally go to clubs and ditch school and there was literally no reason to be sent somewhere like that because it was so minor,” she told us.
Now, Paris is happy to reveal that it feels like “this huge weight has been lifted” off her shoulders — and she’s not done speaking out. “I’m excited to use my voice and my platform to make a difference so that this never happens to a child again. And I’m in contact with Senator Sarah Gelser who’s the senator of Oregon, and she’s really dedicated to this movement and shutting these places down and I want to be there to support her and all of the other survivors and I’m just happy that people are finally going to know that this entire time I was just playing a character,” Paris excitedly shared with HollywoodLife.
The Provo Canyon School wasn’t Paris’s only experience with such types of schools aimed at reform. In the documentary, the socialite explained that she was sent to multiple “emotional growth schools” until landing at Provo Canyon School, where she detailed horrific allegations of abuse.
“I felt like a lot of the people who worked there got off on torturing children and seeing them naked. They would prescribe everyone all these pills. I didn’t know what they were giving me. I would just feel so tired and numb,” Paris alleged in her new documentary. She added, “Some people in that place were just gone, like the lights are on, no one’s home. A lot of people were on suicide watch, and I was so scared that was going to happen to me.” Provo Canyon School was sold to new ownership in 2000 (after Paris left the school), so the school could not “comment on the operations or patient experience prior to this time,” a representative from the school told Today.