Paris Hilton's mum facing backlash over "problematic" comment about Lizzo

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz - Getty Images

Kathy Hilton has come under fire this week for a "problematic" comment she made about Lizzo.

Appearing on an episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Kathy – who is the mother of the legendary Paris Hilton – played a game of 'Will Kathy Know Them?'. The aim of the game was to see which popular celebrities she is familiar with and was inspired by Kathy's frequent habit of mixing up her costars on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

But when Kathy was shown a photo of musician Lizzo – whose real name is Melissa Viviane Jefferson – the game took a turn. "I feel like I do," the 63-year-old said when asked if she knew who Lizzo was, going on to guess: "Precious?"

See a clip of the moment here:

At Kathy's seeming reference to actor Gabourey Sidibe's fictional character in the 2009 film Precious, Andy and RHOBH costar Crystal Kung Minkoff burst out laughing. In an attempt to redirect the conversation, Crystal jumped in to defend her costar by saying: "Lizzo's precious though. Lizzo's precious."

"That's what I call her," Kathy replied. "Her nickname's Precious to me."

But the comment did not go down so well with viewers at home and many took to social media to point out how this plays into the narrative that "all black people look the same".

"When Precious came out, a lot of people used the character’s name as a derogatory label to fuel their fatphobia and to bully. So no, I don’t think that it’s funny that Lizzo, home minding her own business, had to watch herself be called Precious in front of millions on live tv," one person tweeted in response to the clip.

"That Precious comment was so problematic on so many levels, MY GOD. No saving Kathy from that!" a second person wrote on Twitter as a third put: "She does mistake people a lot, but saying Precious is something very insidious. It’s not just linking Lizzo to a fat black person solely on her weight, but erasing Gabourey’s identity. It’s very weird. Kathy is really insufferable and says a lot of off white people stuff."

"It’s not funny at all!" another person said in a Tweet. "It’s testimony that @KathyHilton lives in a bubble and probably knows few people outside of said bubble. She knows @GabbySidibe b/c of the movie and that’s her only reference for a large black female."

Someone else chimed into the conversation with: "As much Kathy Hilton can be completely ditzy and blonde, this was completely disrespectful and has some racial undertones."

Kathy is yet to publicly respond to the backlash.

Cosmopolitan UK has reached out to Kathy Hilton's representatives for comment.

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