Kathy Hilton’s Shocking Lizzo Gaffe Is No Laughing Matter

·5 min read
Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images
Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

The stars of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills are continuing to be shockingly problematic this season. And at this point, I’m starting to think there’s some unspoken competition going on amongst the cast to see who can make the most racist comment.

First, we had newbie Diana Jenkins insulting Black content creators and lecturing Haitian-American castmate Garcelle Beauvais on how much she allegedly helped the country of Haiti on Instagram. Lisa Rinna created her own mess when she piped in to defend Jenkins and every white housewife being accused of racism on the show (while also throwing jabs at Real Housewives of Dubai’s multiracial cast). Sutton Stracke has been accused by a former friend of her daughter for making racist remarks. And Erika Jayne notoriously cussed out Beauvais’ Black teenage son earlier this season—which several white cast members found very amusing.

Now, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fan-favorite Kathy Hilton is coming under fire after “mistaking” Grammy-winning artist Lizzo with the movie character Precious, played by Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, from the 2009 Lee Daniels film of the same name on the latest Watch What Happens Live.

On Wednesday night’s episode, host Andy Cohen played a game with Hilton called “Will Kathy Know Them?” seemingly based on the Hilton’s tendency to confuse cast members for one another on Beverly Hills. During her first season, she famously confused Beauvais with her (white) half-sister Kyle Richards. And in a recent episode, she claimed she had previously met friend-of Sheree Zampino, who is Black, although Zampino claimed otherwise.

Likewise, the producers made the very risky and ultimately poor decision to include a picture of a Black celebrity in last night’s guessing game. Fellow guest and Beverly Hills housewife Crystal Kung Minkoff predicted that Hilton would recognize the “It’s About Damn Time” singer. But in response to Lizzo’s face appearing on the monitor, Hilton quickly guessed “Precious?”

Seemingly out of discomfort or genuine amusement, Cohen, Kung Minkoff and the episodes’ bartenders—who happened to be TV judge Greg Mathis’ son Greg Mathis Jr. and his partner Elliot Cooper—burst into laughter, with Cohen needing to cover his face with one of his note cards.

The clip somehow gets worse when Minkoff jokingly tries to correct Hilton’s snafu by saying “Lizzo is precious.” That’s when Hilton revealed that she actually does know Lizzo but chooses to call her Precious.

“That’s what I call her,” the mother of Paris Hilton shrugged. “Her nickname is Precious to me.”

The segment immediately began to circulate on Twitter during last night’s show with users mostly expressing shock. Now, as the clip continues to spread online, folks are accusing Hilton of misogynoir and fatphobia.

In response to a now-deleted video of the incident, E! News host Nina Parker tweeted, “Black women are not here to be the butt of your jokes. TF is this???”

Comedian and actor Kalen Allen, who famously worked on The Ellen Degeneres Show, had some words about Hilton’s slip-up, which I guess we now know wasn’t really slip-up.

Others chimed in to denounce Hilton’s remarks, noting the rumor that Hilton called Stracke’s assistant a homophobic slur while filming this season of Beverly Hills and her family’s hostile history with Black people—not to mention Hilton’s friendship with the Trumps. Meanwhile, Cohen—who has previously been scrutinized for attacking biracial actress Amandla Stenberg on WWHL after she publicly criticized cultural appropriation—and other attendants of the taping are being dragged for laughing along. (Judge Mathis, who was in attendance, has gone on Instagram to clarify that the moment was “awkward for the whole studio.”

Neither Lizzo nor Sidibe have yet to respond directly to Hilton. However, the “Special” singer posted some bikini photos on Twitter with the caption “Meanwhile…” Hopefully, these two queens have no idea who Paris and Nicky Hilton’s mom is and are enjoying their day—although the video is gaining more and more traction. We’ll see whether Cohen, who has juggled many similar scandals at Bravo over the past two years, acknowledges the incident on Thursday night’s episode.

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