Created on: January 08, 2013 Last Updated: January 09, 2013
“Squeaky clean” is the image that young pop stars like Justin Bieber usually put forward, but Bieber recently took to Twitter to apologize to fans over recent photos. Released by TMZ, the photos captured Bieber and his friends, including the Rap Artist Lil Twist, in a Newport Beach, California, hotel room allegedly smoking marijuana.
While TMZ had lots of fun with the photos and headlines (
“Let’s Be Blunt…Whatcha Smokin?”), the Bieber camp, including longtime Manager Scooter Braun, were not amused. “US Weekly” reported that Braun told them that Bieber knows “that I hold him to a high standard. He doesn’t want to blow it.” (Just imagine what fun TMZ might have with that quote, given the circumstances.)
On the heels of a serious incident
The release of the party photos came just a day after a paparazzo was killed while crossing a highway to get a photograph of the Ferrari owned by Justin Bieber, supposedly then also being driven by Lil Twist. While Bieber also took to social media to express his sadness at the accident, according to TMZ, “it’s pretty obvious ... Bieber wasn’t feeling too bad about the whole situation.”
While it’s clear that Bieber had nothing to do with the unfortunate death of the photographer, the pot photos appear even more unseemly for their party mood. Also tying the two incidents together was the claim by the photographer who died that “Justin was smoking weed just hours before the incident,” a statement that people close to Bieber had said was a lie.
While the singer refused to admit any guilt regarding his drug use, he did tweet the following message two days later in an effort to calm fans: “Everyday growing and learning. trying to be better. u get knocked down, u get up.”
Following a later concert performance, he tweeted, “i see all of you. i hear all of you. i never want to let any of you down….”
Who took (and released) the photos?
While it’s clear from the TMZ photos that Justin Bieber is holding a hand-rolled object in the photos and is gripping it consistently in a manner used with pot smoking, what is less clear is why his security team allowed the photos to be taken in the first place?
There appear to be several people (including young women, although not girlfriend Selena Gomez) participating in the fun. Surely at least one of them realized that capturing this activity via photo would not be a good idea. Didn’t anyone learn from the recent Prince Harry in Vegas fiasco?
Although it’s likely that the photos will surprise few young people, it does lead one to question not only those Bieber surrounds himself with, but also his security team, who surely witnessed the picture-taking.
At the end of the day, this incident is unlikely to have a damaging long-term effect, but one wonders why Bieber would allow these images to be spread across social media, coming just days after the death of the paparazzo?
Learn more about this author, Christine Zibas.
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