“Protest Justin Bieber Moving To Buckhead” reads an inevitable Facebook page, following an initial report by TMZ claiming the singer has set his sights on an Atlanta property in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood.
Bieber is currently staying at the “spaceship-resembling” mansion of record producer friend Dallas Austin, while recording an apparently hip-hop leaning new album and shopping for a home in the city he lived in four years ago when he relocated with his mom, Pattie Mallette – to kickstart his career.
The Facebook page and a planned Monday protest outside 421 Blackland Road at 6 am – the Tuxedo Park Home Bieber is allegedly eyeing – were conceived by Mr. and Mrs. Harold White.
Both are members of the Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition.
At press tiime, 312 people “Liked” the Facebook page, but Mr. White has said he expects between 120 and 150 people to show for the protest.
Old-money to the core, Harold’s statement to CNN could well be taken as an inappropriate note on the teen star’s friendships with non-white people.
“We’re concerned he’ll bring the wrong type of element into a quiet, residential area,” White said of the community of 80,000 known for its quiet celebrity appeal, massive houses, fine dining, and high-end shops.
“It is our position that a person with his means could certainly find a neighborhood more suited to his ‘eclectic’ lifestyle.”
To be clear, White’s issue with Bieber is that he will bring into the Buckhead neighborhood a “wide-ranging, varied, extensive, general, diverse, liberal, inclusive, assorted, indiscriminate, universal, comprehensive, all-embracing,” lifestyle.
The above are just some of the synonyms for “eclectic.”
“If enough people come out perhaps he’ll reconsider and find another neighbourhood. He’s young, there are plenty of places downtown for a wild kid with money to make noise without disturbing people. This is our hope. We can’t make him NOT buy a house, but we’re happy to circle the unwelcome wagons,” Mr. White told the NationalPost via Facebook.
Bieber’s relationship with rappers Lil Twist and Lil Za caused considerable problems in his former Calabasas, California, neighborhood, where they were accused of reckless driving, throwing loud parties, and arguing with residents.
The singer’s history in his old community was also difficult. Los Angeles police previously investigated claims against Bieber of alleged battery and reckless driving which were later dismissed. However, the situation between Bieber and his estranged neighbor escalated at the beginning of this year and resulted in the teen star’s alleged egging of his neighbor’s house on January 9.
The Los Angeles County district attorney is due to make a decision shortly whether and how to charge Bieber over his alleged egging.
The heartthrob has also been charged with DUI and related charges and is facing a charge of assault in Toronto, Canada.
The Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition’s Facebook protest page refers to these accusations against Bieber in its mission statement.
“Justin Bieber’s relocation to Atlanta can be nothing but bad for our children as well as the community,” read one part.”Some can’t even let their children play in the driveway without fear; he has raced vehicles under the influence, before. What’s to say he won’t do it again?”
The statement ended: “Please do not allow a child to ruin what we have worked so hard to obtain. Thanks for the support!”
Many of those posting at the Facebook page, now steaming with opinion, are angered over their perception of Bieber’s behavior with many posting links to media articles, which shows the reach and effect of narratives.
One such commenter, Chiquita Lita, raged, “That little a**hole is not American! You can’t visit Canada if you have so much as a traffic ticket on your record but we have their sh***y problem child here. His rights are written in HIS country, not MINE.”
George Jones, writes, “For those rooting for the Bieber who think this is just an unwarranted slam against the person… Young kids are watching and being exposed to what criminal behavior he gets away with. The drugs, the partying, taking high risks, and more —- Who wants THAT moving next door?”
Lisa Smith wrote,”I live on the south side of Atlanta. Nowhere near Buckhead but I agree with the residents that he can only bring harm to their environment based on his recent publicity. My guess is that the real deal is even worse than what has actually made it to the press.”
But there was support for Bieber too.
Kathryn Brady asked,”I assume this is a joke, right?… Okay. He’s a (RICH&FAMOUS) 19 year old kid with cameras on him 24/7.”
“OBVIOUSLY he is going to get in trouble… Weren’t y’all teenagers?! What in the 70s?! Im sure y’all are SO INNOCENT.. Chances are 50% of you have done something illegal and got caught and 99% of y’all have done something illegal anyway.. I’m not saying I am a fan of his but do you seriously think a 19 year old boy is the worst of your problems? Get real.”
Parker Simpson railed, “This group is so stupid. As much as I dislike Justin Bieber… this is about as un-American as it gets. You want to protest [an] incredibly rich person moving to Atlanta and spending millions of dollars on real estate and property taxes… yet I don’t see any protest movement for the thousands of hammered college kids who drive drunk around downtown after doing 8 lines of blow in the bathroom stall at Buckhead Saloon risking the lives of you and your children.”
Adam Richard asked, “Are you guys going to wear hoods and burn crosses also?”
Brandon Hollman said, “It doesn’t matter if he’s sent back to Canada or does jail time here in the US, either of those two options is fine with me. But I feel like the guy can move anywhere he wants to, protesting it is fine, but I think your on the wrong side of things if you do.”
Michelle Clough, a relative of the singer, wrote:”Justin has a right to buy property where he wishes. I am very certain that some of your Old Money youngster spawns have been [in] scrapes with the law as well. Those who are really going to participate in this protest are wasting your time.”
“I hope my cousin does buy a home in Georgia but not near Buckhead as I would hate to see Justin become a pedantic, pain in the ass, southern snob,” she added.
Cobb County resident Cindy Oldham, created a Tumblr especially to welcome Bieber.
“I’m embarrassed by the behavior of these rich snobs thinking they can control who lives in their community. I’d like to tell Justin if I ever got to meet him, ‘Welcome to Atlanta. Here’s a homemade chocolate cake, some fried chicken, my puppy dogs are here to play with you and you’re welcome to hang out with me any time. And I’ll keep the media idiots away from you,'” she wrote.
Greatest Hockey nation in the world!! Canada for the Gold! #proudcanadian
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) February 23, 2014
If the deeply polarizing Bieber is aware of the impending Buckhead protest, he gave no hint at his Twitter page earlier today, preferring to celebrate Canada’s 3-0 win over Sweden to take the gold medal in the men’s Olympic ice hockey game at Sochi.
Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition and former mayor of Atlanta, told the Post there was no evidence of White’s group existing before the announcement of the protest.
“The only position we have taken … is that [Mr. Bieber] is like anyone else. He has the right to buy and the sellers to sell,” Massell said. “But all residents have to obey the laws.”
It is quite something to see the level of vitriol at the Facebook page over just the idea of the singer living in Buckhead. Like the We the People petition demanding his deportation back to Canada, there is now a palpable anti-Bieber sentiment sweeping across pockets of the US over the antics of a teenager.
How has this loss of perspective come to pass? Bieber’s own actions married to 24/7 media scrutiny? Schadenfreude? A desire to sock it to a kid who seems to have everything?
The teen singer’s toxicology report revealed after his DUI arrest showed marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax were in his system at the time of his arrest, which may suggest he needs help not hate.
Bieber is likely looking for a fresh start in Atlanta. A needed step away from the paparazzi-dense goldfish bowl of L.A., back to where it all began in the US for him. But the wealthy, Buckhead set are saying “Baby, baby, baby, no.”