The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star sat down with Cohen on Wednesday evening, alongside her Bravo co-star Crystal Kung Minkoff. During the episode, the guests played a game called “Will! Kathy! Know Them!?” in which Hilton had to identify a celebrity’s name from their picture.
The 63-year-old reality star was unable to name Justin Timberlake or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but when she was shown an image of Lizzo, her guess resulted in an uncomfortable moment. “I feel like I do,” Hilton said, when asked if she knew the singer. “Precious?”
Hilton seemed to have confused Lizzo, 34, with actor Sidibe, star of the 2009 film Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. Her answer was instantly met with awkward laughter from the audience, prompting Cohen to hide his face behind his cue cards. In an effort to make the moment less cringe, Hilton’s co-star Minkoff tried to play it off by saying: “She is precious, though. Lizzo’s precious.”
“That’s what I call her,” Hilton added. “Her nickname is Precious to me.”
Following her flub, viewers of the show took to Twitter to call out Hilton for referring to Lizzo as “Precious,” which many people claimed had racist undertones.
“Kathy Hilton referring to Lizzo as ‘Precious’ has so many racist undertones to it,” one person tweeted. “I get she’s ditzy and it’s funny at times but this was just rude and disrespectful.”
“Now, I know Kathy Hilton doesn’t know much, but how the hell did she manage to confuse Lizzo with Gabourey Sidibe?” another user said. “That certainly plays into the ‘we all look alike to them’ trope.”
“That Kathy Hilton clip is messed up and y’all know it is. Lizzo minds her own business but all people do is make her a joke and this time it wasn’t even intentional,” a third person wrote. “This time she caught a stray and I wish someone would’ve stepped up and said something.”
Others came to Hilton’s defense, saying that the reality star is known for confusing names and faces. Since she became a recurring cast member on RHOBH in 2021, Hilton has been the subject of many viral memes, like when she mistook her co-star Garcelle Beauvais for her own sister Kyle Richards. Or when fellow cast member Sutton Stracke said: “Not everything is hunky dory,” and Hilton asked, “Who is Hunky Dory?”
“Kathy Hilton was not being racist by calling Lizzo Precious! She is so out of touch with reality she thought Garcelle was Kyle so that says a lot itself,” said one fan.
“Kathy Hilton thought ‘hunky dory’ was an actual person and y’all want to be mad/surprised that she didn’t know who Lizzo is?” said someone else.
Another fan wrote: “I’m tickled that the internet is in such an uproar about Kathy Hilton not knowing who Lizzo is. Y’all must not watch RHOBH in real life…that lady DOESN’T know anyone she’s innocent.”
Neither Lizzo nor Sidibe have responded to the WWHL clip.