Justin Bieber fans who bought Purpose Tour VIP meet-and-greet packages ranging up to $2,000, which were later canceled by the singer for mental health reasons, aren’t the only ones getting a raw deal. So is Justin Bieber.
TMZ, whose compromised relationship with the Canadian star is well-known, is currently equating Bieber hanging out with a few famous friends or guests before shows with formal meet-and-greets with hundreds of hysterical, screaming, overly-tactile fans.
Over the weekend, the pop star and ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky and his family shared social media snaps of themselves posing backstage before the Biebs’ performance at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.
Justin was seen with Wayne and his wife, Janet, in one photo shared to her Instagram page. The heartthrob also took a pic with the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Emma, who was celebrating her 13th birthday at the concert.
Inquisitr readers may remember TMZ previously revealed the “Sorry” singer has had his clothes ripped, hair pulled, and been at risk security-wise in the frenzied atmosphere of his usual meet-and-greets. Pictures of Gretzky and his family with the Biebs don’t really compare.
Nevertheless, on Wednesday (March 30), TMZ expressly stated Bieber is still doing meet-and-greets, but only for people known to him or his team. In plain English: that’s friends and guests. In which case, are we suggesting the Biebs can’t invite friends and guests to his own tour, when, typically, even dancers, crew, and band members are given comps for others?
Bizarrely, the celebrity gossip site’s report gives the impression that friends or guests invited to the Purpose Tour by Team Bieber actually pay for an official $2,000 VIP package, when they are most likely given free passes.
The site continues, “Justin’s team tells us in order to get a golden ticket you’ve got to be tight with JB himself or someone in his inner circle… who can vouch that you’re no security risk.”
This references the outlet’s story last week, claiming the 22-year-old singer canceled his Purpose Tour meet-and-greets after a potentially dangerous fan allegedly got within 10 feet of the superstar while backstage at one of his recent shows at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
As ever, numerous media outlets have taken their cue from TMZ. The Daily Mail writes, “Some fans have been left furious as it’s been revealed that Justin Bieber is still meeting fans backstage — but only if they have VIP tickets.”
The UK tabloid adds, “According to TMZ, a source close to Justin explained that in order to purchase one of the $2,000 golden tickets you have to be close of either Justin or someone in his inner circle.”
Justin Bieber — Meet & Greets Still On for VIPs Only… Sorry Beliebers https://t.co/b6oEqVmJt9
— TMZ (@TMZ) March 30, 2016
Closer reading of TMZ’s report reveals it only referred to a “golden ticket” and no mention of an actual purchase. The site didn’t provide evidence or even state that the Gretzkys paid $2,000, or any sum, for a concert ticket.
Some Beliebers reportedly left angry comments at Bieber and the Gretzkys’ social media posts. One blistered, “It’s funny that rich people still get meet and greets!” Another snarked, “Good for Bieber to meet a Gretzky after saying he couldn’t meet fans anymore.”
TMZ’s report signed off with, “Sorry, regular people. Life sucks.” So far, so inflammatory. Like its previous posts on the meet-and-greet saga, its latest “VIPs only” story downplays Bieber’s own explanation for canceling FaceTime with paying Beliebers.
Instead, the site repeated its supposed security risk scenario while leaving out any mention of the mental health issues the singer cited in an Instagram post last week.
Love u guys.. I'm going to be canceling my meet and greets. I enjoy meeting such incredible people but I end up feeling so drained and filled with so much of other people's spiritual energy that I end up so drained and unhappy.. Want to make people smile and happy but not at my expense and I always leave feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression .. The pressure of meeting people's expectations of what I'm supposed to be is so much for me to handle and a lot on my shoulders. Never want to disappoint but I feel I would rather give you guys the show and my albums as promised. Can't tell you how sorry I am, and wish it wasn't so hard on me.. And I want to stay in the healthy mindset I'm in to give you the best show you have ever seen 😉
“Love u guys…I’m going to be canceling my meet and greets,” Justin wrote alongside a picture of him hugging a fan.
He went on to say that interacting with fans in these sessions left him “drained” and “feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression” because he takes on “other people’s spiritual energy.”
The Biebs added that “the pressure of meeting people’s expectations of what I’m supposed to be is so much for me to handle and a lot on my shoulders,” and that he wants to “stay in the healthy mindset” to give fans his best on his Purpose Tour.
Initially, some Justin Bieber fans were sympathetic to the singer’s candid message. That changed when Bkstg, the company which Braun uses to arrange fans’ VIP packages, informed Beliebers that full refunds were available but required them to give up their premium concert tickets.
Although some Purpose Tour tickets are available, fans directly affected by the cancellations are furious that they have to buy pricey new concert tickets if they take the full refunds available. As a result, the Biebs and Bkstg have been dragged on social media. Meanwhile, Braun, who heads up Bieber’s team, has not.
As some supportive Bieber fans on Twitter have already noted, TMZ’s deliberate painting of Bieber (or his circle’s) Purpose Tour invites to friends or VIP guests as something that would affect the singer in the same way as high-pressured meet-and-greets with fans, is ludicrous. In reality, friends or guests swinging by a show to say “hi” to an artist is not a meet-and-greet, but a social call. But, will all the Beliebers see it that way?
[Image via Instagram/Janet Gretzky]