Justin Bieber’s Brazil weekend won’t go quietly. Hot on the heels of the singer’s non-denied visit to a nightclub widely considered to be a brothel, comes a video of the teenage superstar sleeping in a day bed while a female films him at his most vulnerable and seemingly post-coital.
It’s currently sucking the oxygen out of the Internet, but as usual the singer’s management — who received a thoroughly deserved kicking from The Telegraph’s Cristina Odone for creating an idol out of an innocent and selling him on that for the adoration of millions — offer radio silence. [Note: Mgt sign off on reps.]
Simply titled “Justin Bieber sleeping with Girl in Brasil (sic),” the 15-second intimacy is already viral. As it turns out the girl isn’t a prostitute — despite lurid claims — but a 26-year-old, Brazilian who is a part-time actress and bodybuilder called Tatiana Neves Barbosa.
Of the “sleeping” video, Mail Online reports an insider said, “Justin was asleep in his villa when the video was taken. There were a bunch of guys and a bunch of women hanging out, not prostitutes. He fell asleep and someone walked in and took a picture.”
In addition, E! News reports that Barbosa was simply someone another guest invited to a party the singer threw at his rented house after attending a nightclub post one one of his Brazil concerts.
Apparently Tati, as she is known, “is very upset” the video is out and hadn’t intended it to make its way online.
It’s possible this explanation won’t satisfy parents contemplating taking their little darlings to see the 19-year-old’s upcoming movie-documentary Believe (opening Christmas Day), or mainstream media and public opinion which loves collectively tutting while ignoring it’s own toleration of sexualized videos, films, female objectification, scandal chasing, and violence in pop culture.
Slumbering Bieber arrives amid reports of his hard partying with numerous females while in Brazil, a reported ejection from Rio’s Copacabana Palace hotel, a storm out from his first concert after he was hit with a water bottle, paparazzi claims of an attack by the singer’s security, and a charge via Rio police over graffiti he tagged along a disused hotel wall in the city on Tuesday.
This last item appears to be news to Justin. Among the many Instagrams he posted earlier while in the Believe tour’s latest stop Argentina, one read,
“Every place I have tagged has been approved I do not suggest tagging private property… I still suck but i have fun doing it ).”
Odone is right about one thing. Whether Bieber is paying females for sex and it’s possible that he isn’t, the imagery of the new video, brothel and past Texas strip bar visit, is jarring set against his openly-declared Christian beliefs.
But the idea that he ever was or should be an ideal of perfection was flawed right from the beginning. A template set in motion by his management, publicists, record companies, and possible evangelism from mother Pattie Mallette; today the gulf between Bieber old and now has never been wider.
The reasons are obvious. It’s impossible for anyone to live up to a fantasy, let alone one borne of commerce. Without retreading the singer’s errors of judgment this year, despite making a lot of money for a lot of people (including his own Forbes rated fortune), his never-ending, $155 million grossing tour seems to have earned at the cost of his reputation and something core.
Even more disturbingly, against a backdrop of five albums debuting at No. 1 on Billboard, over 15 million sales, impressive investments and awards, Justin’s predicament appears to be shadowing his late hero Michael Jackson’s circa 2001 trajectory.
Recent criticism directed to his record label Def Jam on Twitter, and Bieber’s visible chafing under the weight of a predominantly venal media narrative and paparazzi attention, expose cracks in the illusion of superstardom and power, and his recognition that his life is not his own.
Amid reports of confidentiality agreements handed out to guests and companions, Twitter accusations by old friends against manager Scooter Braun, and the DEFCON 5 status of Bieber’s public image; if a video filmed by a woman who violated his basic right to privacy tells us anything it’s that this kid needs our compassion not mockery.
(Photo: Instagram, captioned, “”Im crazy, yeah that’s just what this game made me, I may need to replace these dumb faces and maybe I need to refrain from the people who won’t let me remain me but I’m gonna still remain me” – me,” posted by Bieber on Nov. 6)