RSS
3 reasons Paris Hilton's Mecca boutique is a really, really bad idea
The often scantily-clad socialite has opened a handbag store in the Saudi city home to one of the holiest sites in Islam. What could possibly go wrong?
The Paris Hilton fashion empire (which does exist) is expanding into uncharted territory: Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The Paris Hilton fashion empire (which does exist) is expanding into uncharted territory: Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
H

otel heiress, socialite, and sex-tape star Paris Hilton is embroiled in controversy yet again, after opening a store selling handbags and other accessories in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The former reality TV star announced the news last week with a tweet saying, "Loving my beautiful new store that just opened at Mecca Mall in Saudi Arabia!" It's her 42nd store, and her fifth in Saudi Arabia, but this one is provoking outrage around the world, especially among Muslims. "R u kidding?" one critic tweeted. "I'm not religious and still find this perverse," said another. Why are people so upset? There are many, many reasons, of course. Here are three:

1. It's an insult to Islam
There are plenty of things about Paris Hilton "that don't sit well with devout Muslims, like that sex tape and her rampant materialism," says Katy St. Clair at San Francisco Examiner. "So having her chintzy infidel wares available in the same area as the religion’s holiest shrine" was bound to make people mad. Hilton's decade-old sex tape alone was enough to spark complaints that her presence in Mecca amounted to an insult to Islam, says Laura Bashraheel at the Saudi Gazette. As one outraged Twitter user wrote: "How can someone who made such a video open a store in the holy city next to the Grand Mosque?"

2. Hilton is endorsing a culture that abuses women
Saudis aren't the only ones angered by the "absurdity of such a controversial female celebrity marketing her goods" in Saudi Arabia, says Sulome Anderson at Foreign Policy. Many Westerners are annoyed that Hilton is putting her stamp of approval on a fundamentalist Muslim country where women aren't even "permitted to drive cars."

3. She could be putting herself, or others, in danger
Paris Hilton ought to fire anyone on her staff who told her this was a good idea, says Steve Cooper at The Conservative Monster. "Do they want her to get her head chopped off?" Radical Islamists have issued fatwas for lesser offenses against Muslim sensibilities than this. The guy behind the anti-Islam online video that provoked protests in Cairo and elsewhere wound up in custody for old offenses. "I wonder if Hillary and Obama will have Paris Hilton arrested next if riots break out."

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week