UPDATE: blogger Perez Hilton is reporting that a source close to Paris Hilton reached out exclusively to him in order to tell her side of the story. The source claims that in the context of the conversation, the socialite was expressing concern for an HIV-positive friend in Spain who was engaging in risky sexual practices:

Our insider explained to us that this convo was recorded while Paris and her GAY friends were taking a cab during Fashion’s Night Out. While the source concedes that she and her pals were “obviously wasted,” the source explains that Paris’ friends were actually just concerned about a friend of theirs in Spain who knowingly has AIDS, but still has unprotected sex with people and doesn’t tell them! When Paris’ pals went on to share that this Spanish friend was also actively seeking sexual partners online for unprotected sex, that’s when the comments of these types of actions being “gross” and “disgusting” came into play. According to our insider, Paris’ comments were directed towards one reckless individual, not the community at large.

The source also claimed that the cab driver selectively excerpted the audio recording in order to portray (Paris) Hilton in the worst possible light, and assured (Perez) Hilton that (Paris) Hilton is absolutely mortified about this story, especially because, as the article states, “80% of her friends are gay.” For his part, Perez believes Paris, “if for no other reason than to hope that there aren’t people out in the world who could genuinely think such horrible things.”

What do you think? Is Paris genuinely the victim of an exploitative, attention-seeking cab driver, or is she just trying to do damage control for ill-advised drunken remarks?
ORIGINAL STORY: Paris Hilton is in hot water after a New York City cab driver surreptitiously recorded a conversation between Hilton and a gay friend in which the hotel heiress claimed that “Most [gay men] probably have AIDS.”

Hilton’s friend told her about the social networking and hookup app Grindr, and Hilton responded, “Gay guys are the horniest people in the world. They’re disgusting. Dude, most of them probably have AIDS.” Later on in the conversation, Hilton again made a derogatory comment about gay men and AIDS, telling her gay friend, “I would be so scared if I were a gay guy. You’ll, like, die of AIDS.”

Radar Online has the exclusive audio — click here to head over to their website and listen.

Amber Goodhand and David Perel of Radar Online report that Hilton’s cab driver was stunned by what he was hearing: “I couldn’t believe what was coming out of Paris’ mouth and the way she was talking about gay men.”

When contacted by the website for comment, Paris Hilton’s publicist released the following statement:

“Paris Hilton’s comments were to express that it is dangerous for anyone to have unprotected sex that could lead to a life threatening disease. The conversation became heated, after a close gayfriend told her in a cab ride, a story about a gay man who has AIDS and is knowingly having unprotected sex. He also discussed a website that encourages random sex by gay men with strangers. As she was being shown the website her comments were in reference to those people promoting themselves on the site. The cab driver who recorded this, only provided a portion of the conversation. It was not her intent to make any derogatory comments about all gays. Paris Hilton is a huge supporter of the gay community and would never purposefully make any negative statements about anyone’s sexual orientation.”

Now, let the record show that as a general rule, I don’t expect really anything substantial to come out of Paris Hilton’s mouth. That being said, I think her comments about gay men and AIDS are worth noting because they show how stunningly, tragically ignorant she really is.