Which side of me will win?

Paris Hilton on Mandela – more of a joke than a fake

Two nights ago, I logged onto Facebook to discover a number of Facebook updates reporting the death of Nelson Mandela. I posted a few of my own.

Then, just one hour later, one of my friends posted this jpg of a Tweet supposedly made by Paris Hilton…


…in which she says, “RIP Nelson Mandela. Your “I Have A Dream” speech was so inspiring. An amazing man.”

My first thought was a, “Nooo…” of disbelief, and I went straight to her Twitter feed to see if the Tweet was still there. It was not. No signs of a struggle either. No activity there for about 4 hours.

I commented, “Fake.” on my friend’s post. He disagreed.

So I Googled ‘Paris Hilton Mandela fake’ and found confirmation that the source of the jpg was a Twitter feed called Deleted Tweets (@deIetedtweets – with a capital ‘i’ instead of an ‘l’)

The Tweet posting the Paris Hilton jpg was still there. In fact, it was the most recent Tweet. The second most recent Tweet was from Kanye West and said something along the lines of, “I DON’T SPEAK TO POOR PEOPLE ANY MORE, AND THAT INCLUDES JAY-Z AND BEYONCE.”

Clearly – and I mean clearly – this account was not even trying to be taken seriously. It was just crude celebrity satire and nothing more. I posted a link to the account on my friend’s status and he deleted the whole thing.

But then another half hour goes by and the Deleted Tweets Tweet shows up on my Twitter feed. This time it’s been Retweeted by Irvine Welsh, of all people. My favourite author just made me facepalm!

Irvine_WelshYou missed. Try again.

He’s Retweeted it via a couple of other writers, including John Irvine – another bestselling author – and I immediately Tweet to all of them that Deleted Tweets is obviously a joke account, and that they should have some sense.

A few minutes later John Irvine apologises for his mistake. I presumably wasn’t the only one to point it out.

Then earlier today, another friend posted the same jpg on Facebook and off I went to find the source, only to discover that, oh so very ironically, Deleted Tweets had deleted it, along with all of the other ‘deleted tweets’ that had ever been posted there.

All that was left was a Tweet at Paris Hilton, saying she should admit to what she said, and a brief conversation with a follower who was wondering why the original Tweet was not viewable “any more”. Honestly not sure if she meant the Tweet by Paris Hilton or the Tweet by Deleted Tweets.

Anyway, I chimed in on the exchange with,

Maybe it’s because Deleted Tweets deleted it. Ironic.”

Soon after I Tweeted this, Deleted Tweets deleted its own part of the exchange. Layer upon layer of irony there.

The other Tweeter favourited my Tweet, so I guess either I opened her eyes or she was onto it all along.

Paris Hilton herself has posted various Tweets in response to this, including this one, which reads, “Whoever made that stupid fake tweet lacks respect to the loss the world is mourning right now. Same goes for all the blogs who ran with it.” and was Retweeted by Deleted Tweets, (un)funnily enough.

So am I writing this to defend Paris Hilton? Fuck no. She’s not the victim here. She’s made a career out of playing dumb and ignorant, so she should expect this kind of thing. If you’re going to sell yourself as a clueless caricature of yourself then you can’t really complain when others buy into the idea.


So this can’t be an attack on Deleted Tweets either then, can it? No, it can’t. Not really. The original joke was unfunny and a little disrespectful to Mandela, but harmless enough in itself. And, most importantly, it was obviously and clearly presented as a joke. Deleting all his old Tweets makes him (I’m guessing it’s a ‘him’) look decidedly spineless, but still, I don’t think he can shoulder much blame.

But all the blogs who ran with it, and anyone really who gleefully and unthinkingly spread it around… you need to take a look at yourselves. Paris Hilton has a point there. Yeah, I mean it. Paris Hilton made you look dumb.

And she makes a good point about respect too. Honestly, the man had been gone for a few hours and people were already leaping (without looking) at the chance to use his death as an excuse to make themselves feel superior over someone totally insignificant by comparison (or, arguably, otherwise).

Paris Hilton doesn’t matter, and some stupid joke about her doesn’t matter, but the truth does matter. And the fact that intelligent, respectable people were so quick to overlook the truth in favour of a cheap, judgmental online thrill worries me. We can’t afford to be so easily distracted.

I’m going to leave the last word to the man himself. R.I.P.

It is never my custom to use words lightly. If twenty-seven years in prison have done anything to us, it was to use the silence of solitude to make us understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.” – Nelson Mandela



Filed under: Opinion, , , ,

49 Responses

  1. segmation says:

    I guess you can’t believe everything you read.

  2. I’m not surprised that a lot of people believed it. Paris Hilton isn’t exactly the brightest bulb on the candelabra.

  3. lrose says:

    Reblogged this on by LRose and commented:
    Great post

  4. starplexus says:

    Also not surprised so many people believed it (and I would have as well, if if wasn’t for this blog post).

    the only “good” thing for Paris is that people are talking about her (because as they say, any publicity is good publicity).

  5. Melanie says:

    “Check your source” is a rule worth following. Thanks for the reminder. With the pace things move online, misinformation becomes the bible truth because it’s out and spread before the facts come in.

  6. Wow… the timing of this post falls right in line with an observation I posted a few days ago. It is amazing that some people have nothing better to do with all of these advances in technology than post lies and foolishness.

  7. I saw this photo and nearly facepalmed myself. Lol, I thought to myself, here she goes again. On a more serious note though, Nelson Mandela will be greatly missed. He touched so many lives. But thanks for posting this, I got a good laugh out of the downfalls of the internet! 😉

  8. Haha, several times through your article I was waiting for you to reveal that she actually DID write it. But yes, people shouldn’t be using this as a platform to ridicule. Excellent post.

  9. rambler7 says:

    I just found you on the Freshly Pressed page. I’m brand new to this whole blogging thing and I’ll definitely be reading some more of your posts!

    I’m usually the person who gets annoyed when people believe whatever they see without verifying it but every once in a while I get sucked in too…I’m certain this would have been one of those times!

  10. stevefarra says:

    That last quote Mandela will be saved on my hard drive. It is one of the best that I have encountered in the last few years.

    Right or wrong, Mandela was willing to die for his values and convictions – are we?

  11. You have obviously put some thought into this. To be blunt, maybe you could have gone one step further and tried to understand the purpose of the Deleted Tweet since it was important enough to you to double check the sources. The mistaken I have a dream speech needed to be expounded upon and not taken as an opportunity to make jest of the “stupid girl” stereotype. Martin Luther and Nelson Mandela are Outliers. What other similarities are here? The Era was much responsible for these great men. I will use my words cautiously here as Mr. Mandela advises.

  12. Thank you for clearing up yet another Internet conundrum. I had no idea people were that desperate for things to occupy their time. Perhaps they should turn off their computers and go to a homeless shelter and volunteer… in the spirit of Mandela, volunteer at a school for underprivileged kids.

    This was a great post, especially your little twinge directed at Paris Hilton, a manufactured celebrity… a human Barbie doll. Peace, Amy Barlow Liberatore AKA Sharp Little Pencil

  13. Cherrie Zell says:

    Thank you. Precious words in the lack of silence that is our social media. I’d been wondering if I should branch out, but your post reminds me why I’ve limited my engagement to blogging.

  14. am032889 says:

    Wow the things people will do…

  15. Reblogged this on theblackchandelier and commented:
    “people were already leaping (without looking) at the chance to use his death as an excuse to make themselves feel superior over someone totally insignificant by comparison.” This holds true every time. Amongst non-celebrities too. Especially in times of loss, people always try to show how much they care and try to express how much that person meant to them when in fact, they didn’t care when the person was still alive.

  16. *oops I accidently replied to another comment. very sorry.

    Gosh. I’m so gullible, when I saw that as the picture of your post I jumped to conclusions. Guilty, here. But you make a very valid point. There’s something…unsettling about the fact that intelligent human beings would pounce upon this tweet and assume it is real because it mocks Paris Hilton mental faculties. It’s like all people are after nowadays is a good laugh at the expense of others. Think reality TV.

  17. lithakazi says:

    Thank you, from a child of South Africa… from a little girl who got her father back when grand-dad Madiba, and all those involved in the struggle, won us our freedom.

  18. kadyc4n says:

    well said! I really cringe when people make jokes about the deceased, it’s sick and disrespectful. I love twitter but it has a very laid back view on death for example, fake ‘r.i.p’s’ why joke about someone who’s died when they haven’t really died? Thanks for posting this and I would just like to say R.I.P Mandela!

  19. Sapna says:

    Can’r agree more with you. And what an apt quote from the man himself to end the post!

    May his soul rest in peace.

  20. Monicle says:

    It’s embarrassing how quickly we will be petty and laugh at someone. If Nelson Mandela had met Paris Hilton, I’m sure he would’ve treated her with respect.

    • I agree with you Monicle. I’m not on twitter, and learned about this via this post but surely Nelson Mandela was disrespected for the sake of a “joke”. But so was Paris (not a “fan” but truth is truth). I haven’t heard about the girl in years so hopefully she’s grown some as we all do with age.

      But overall I agree with the point of the post. People taking everything they read or even “see” as truth may be (one) of the downfalls of humankind.

  21. Great post, I agree with you,

  22. jayantadeepa says:

    I wonder how people/pages can joke about deaths..and that too death of a person they whose service can never be forgotten….

  23. Bangkok Betty says:

    If I had a billion dollars for every time someone actually bothered to fact check before they posted something, I’d be rich.

  24. J.E.S says:

    great post. I love this picture and quote of Mandela. thanks for reminding us of what is important in life. Jen

  25. awax1217 says:

    In my short time on this world I have seen the power of rain and the cleansing of fire. I have seen the great tell truths and those with prejudice become a liar. The truth maligned and the web of intrigue exposed, I have seen about everything I suppose. But there comes something new and I am amazed, may the world rejoice and may truth be praised.

  26. hodgepodge4thesoul says:

    Oh my Gosh! Really?!

  27. Distinguished Malcontent says:

    When you publish satire, you run the risk that someone will take it literally. I think Deleted Tweets just needs to work on being funnier.

  28. Tiger Lily says:

    Reblogged this on SCATTERED FLASHES and commented:
    This post really zoned in on a major problem we have right now: large numbers of people being misinformed about the words/actions of others because of the viral nature of the Internet and our laziness when it comes fact-checking before reposting/reblogging/retweeting/repeating.

  29. lisaw43 says:

    Great article, great read – thank you.

  30. salmaffioli says:

    Great Post! The triple irony was great!

  31. A. van Nerel says:

    Thanks…a blog that’s funny and made me think at the same time! I must admit when I first saw Paris Hilton’s tweet, I half assumed it was real. I may have even been one of those bloggers to run with it. Thanks for this;)

  32. stevelohbeck says:


  33. misslingling says:

    I saw this tweet on my fb too and thought “surely, she isn’t THAT dumb”. It’s annoying how people don’t fact check and take the interwebs for gospel.

  34. I think the fact that the tweet was so believable says something about Paris Hilton’s intelligence and the way she is perceived by the public. Whether or not it was real.

  35. levijohn says:

    Great work keep it up….

  36. borntitan14 says:

    Reblogged this on urban and commented:
    Yo wft!!! Wen u have money u can afford to be stupid as fuck huh lol!!!

  37. manlea says:

    Supposedly ?.. you could confirm it with your friend before risking spreading malicious lies.

  38. manlea says:

    Do you really believe that ?…

  39. manlea says:

    Maybe she did meet him….its more likely than than not if she wanted to she could have. And yes he would have treated her with respect that is for sure..acting dumb she is having a life and making lots of dough !

  40. I would never say that a person does not matter, no matter who they may be. Even she may not be as dumb as she puts on. The second thing is that it is never funny when one dies. There is a time and place if you need to do that, because blogs, tweets, etc are a mixed bag. You’ll get the Kayne West types and others who push the limits simply for notoriety. When Malkin’s teen cousin went missing, NPR made fun of her parents. And Gilbert Gottfried making fun of dead Japanese pissed me off. People say stupid things and should be taken with a grain of salt.

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