The Viral Paris Hilton Fashion Moment That's Actually Photoshopped

2005 was a year of major pop culture developments. YouTube was launched, Destiny's Child was on their last legs, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were rumored to be dating. As millennials recall, the fashion of that decade was also nothing short of iconic. Fashionistas donned Juicy tracksuits and jeans with dresses. Yup, the nostalgia is real. Paris Hilton also wore a shirt that captured the attention of aspiring it-girls. In April 2005, a notable photo of Paris and Kimberly Stewart circulated, per W Magazine. They donned special shirts for a Las Vegas release of Nicky Hilton's clothing line called "Chick by Nicky Hilton."

Nearly anything Paris wears is destined to make waves, but this top in particular had a questionable message. The words "stop being poor," were plainly inscribed in black capital letters on the white tank top. The phrase and shirt soon became a frequently-used meme, taking over the internet. While some people were amused by Paris' bold choice, others were offended. Years later, Paris decided to clear the air on the debacle.

The photo really said stop being desperate

Believe it or not, Paris Hilton's shirt never said, "Stop Being Poor." In 2021, she took to Instagram to share the real story. She wrote, "Debunking the #STOPBEINGPOOR myth. Don't believe everything you read." In a video, she gave the inside scoop on the tank top. She said, "I never wore that shirt. This was completely photoshopped. Everyone thinks this is real." Then, she showed a photo of her and Stewart wearing the original shirts, which actually said "stop being desperate."

Hilton also shared the revelatory clip on TikTok to over 4 million views, per the New York Post. The comments section was filled with playful remarks supporting the heiress. While the news flash surprised some, others were unfazed. One user wrote, "We didn't take it personal tbh. I actually liked the poor one tho lol." Someone else said, "I'm so weak that she had to clarify ugh iconic." Another person commented, "Excuse me I was quoting this the past ten years... and I was poor.. and it wasn't even REAL????"

The creator of the fake photo came forward

The individual who photoshopped Paris Hilton's "Stop Being Poor" top came out of the woodwork in 2021. After Hilton took to social media to clarify misconceptions, she received a Twitter DM from an artist named Jubilee, who apologized, per the Daily Mail

Jubilee's Twitter message stated, "I'm glad you're not upset or anything. Truly didn't think people would think it was real or get upset over it. LOL. I hope it hasn't brought you any grief." Hilton harbored no hard feelings over the incident. Jubilee explained what really happened on her podcast. Apparently, the photo initially circulated on Tumblr but didn't garner much attention. However, it blew up on another outlet, which made Jubilee feel "really bad." She said, "I think some article got a hold of it ... they actually thought the shirt was real. I didn't want anyone to think it was real. When I look at it, it seems pretty obviously fake to me." She added, "It was just some dumb kid with photoshop."

Although the truth is now revealed, "stop being poor" continues to have a mind of its own. For instance, the Showtime show "Ziwe" satirized the message in a music video called, "Stop Being Poor." The song opens with the words, "This one goes out to all my poors out there. I know you're down on your luck, but someone once told me being poor is a choice. So, stop."