As the now deafening silence from Justin Bieber’s representatives continues in the wake of the battery allegations, by far the most revealing quote in the past few days came from veteran music manager Peter Mensch who told The Sun:
“His manager Scooter Braun is scared s***less.”
Coming from a successful — and also, presumably — impartial industry figure, unwittingly or not, Mensch is strongly suggesting that Bieber didspit on and threaten to kill his neighbor last Tuesday as alleged.
The neighbor — 47-year-old Jeff Schwartz, President and CEO of Mota Motors Inc., — claims he confronted the singer at his home in Calabasas, Calif., after he allegedly raced his Ferrari around the residential area at 08:00 am.
Schwartz told TMZ that he yelled at Bieber saying:
“You can’t drive like this!”
The 19-year-old allegedly shouted back:
“Get the f–k out of here. I’m gonna f–king kill you,” before spitting in Schwartz’s face.
Sources close to Bieber and his security team reportedly insist that there was no physical contact between the two men.
If the battery allegations are true, and it’s possible that they are, it’s a sign that Bieber has lost self-control. However, they are only allegations.
Put another way, most of Bieber’s antics on his Believe world tour — the worst birthday, persistent shirtlessness, lateness, fainting, hospitalization, gas masks, even the paparazzo run-in in London — could possibly be put down to youth. Dramas happens on tour. In a way, they’re supposed to.
However, the alleged battery is in a league of its own. If it was isolated it could perhaps be put down to a seriously bad day, a migraine or any number of other reasons. But a scroll through Bieber’s behavior over the last two years reveals a timeline of mounting volatility that suggests whatever pressures the teen star is experiencing — are getting worse not better.
According to TMZ, sources in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department say the case will be referred to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office with the recommendation that that criminal battery charges are filed.
The sources also said the Department’s recommendation is based on what they believe is Bieber’s “pattern of disregard for the law” that could lead to criminal activity if not dealt with by anger management, professional help or sanction.
So how did the once golden boy of the music industry get here?
A Timeline of Turbulence
June 23, 2011
Bieber was knocked down by a man outside a New York City Macy’s at a launch for his Someday fragrance. The singer was asked to go outside and tell fans who had not queued for tickets that they would not be able to come in. A man, who later turned out to be an undercover policeman, jumped over the barrier and inadvertently knocked over the singer in the confusion.
October 26, 2011
The 17-year-old is pulled over by police in L.A after a three-car-motorcade led by Bieber cuts off a California Highway Patrol officer. The singer was driving his “Batmobile” cadillac, Sean Kingston was in a Rolls Royce and another in a range rover. All three were let off with a warning.
November 1, 2011
Mariah Yeater, a 20-year-old Californian woman, names Bieber in a paternity suit as the father of her five-month-old son.
The singer takes a DNA test on November 18 which proves he is not the father.
December 14, 2011
The singer is pulled over by traffic police for making an unsafe turn on Ventura Boulevard in L.A while driving his black cadillac “Batmobile” which is customed with “JB” on the side panel, and Batman symbols on the front and back.
April 24, 2012
Ahead of Capital FM’s Summertime Ball, the now 18-year-old flew into London’s Heathrow airport and was swarmed by paparazzi and fans. In the mayhem, the singer swung at one paparazzo with his bag.
May 27, 2012
Bieber, who had then only recently begun dating Selena Gomez, scuffled with a paparazzo as he snapped the couple leaving The Commons shopping center in Calabasas, Califorania. The paparazzo called 911 and filed a police report saying he was kicked and punched by the singer.
Following that altercation, officials at the L.A District’s Attorney Office said in November that they would not be pursuing criminal charges against the singer citing insufficient evidence, including videos and photographs, to corroborate the paparazzo’s claim.
At the time Los Angeles County fire personnel examined the photographer and noted no apparent sign of injury, a view that was also echoed by a L.A County sheriff’s deputy who went to the scene.
July 6, 2012
The singer is pulled over in his chrome Fisker Karma by police for speeding on the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley. However, the high speeds he was cited for were a result of trying to escape a pack of paparazzi. One in particular, Paul Raef, pursued him through traffic.
L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, among those calling 911 to report the chase, would later tell media outlets:
“Bieber was driving like a maniac. He was weaving in and out of traffic. There was hardly any space between cars as he weaved from lane to lane.”
Later that same day, the teen was again tailed by five paparazzi in cars. While trying to evade them, he called 911 and told the despatcher that the same paps who had pursued him earlier were following him.
“They’re driving really reckless. They just will not stop following me,” he said.
The singer also told the dispatcher that when he tried to explain why he was speeding to the police officers who had pulled him earlier on the 101 Freeway, he was told: ” ‘You waive your rights to privacy when you’re a celebrity.’”
Paul Raef became the first photographer to be charged under California’s 2010 law which was designed to combat the problem of reckless paparazzi.
The case would later be dismissed on November 14, 2012 after the judge said the charges violated Raef’s First Amendment rights.
September 12, 2012
On arriving at London’s famous Maida Vale Studio to perform songs from his Believe Acoustic album, the singer and his security are swarmed by paparazzi. In an attempt to steady himself in the crush, Bieber forcefully restrained one of the photographers with his arm.
September 29, 2012
On the opening night of his Believe world tour in Glendale, Arizona, the singer vomited on stage mid-way through a song. He later said it was due to drinking milk beforehand.
Mid-late October 2012
Ex-Israeli Army soldier Moshe Benabou turned security guard is fired from Bieber’s employment.
He worked for the singer from March 2011 to October 2012. Benabou later filed a lawsuit against the singer on January 10, 2013 seeking unspecified damages for assault and battery, in addition to $420,000 in unpaid overtime.
He claimed the pop star berated and punched him in the chest multiple times during a heated row when the two disagreed on how to handle one of Bieber’s entourage.
Bieber’s representative said there was no truth to the suit, adding that Benabou was fired after he it was discovered he lied about previously working for Justin Timerlake. TMZ also confirmed that Benabou had never been employed by Timberlake.
November 14, 2012
The singer was pulled over while driving his white Ferrari at around 6:30 pm in the 600 block Hayward Avenue, West Hollywood.
January 1, 2013
Bieber was not present during this incident. Freelance paparazzo, Chris Guerra, was struck by a passing vehicle while attempting to cross Sepulveda Boulevard in L.A to take photos of Bieber’s white Ferrari. The singer’s friend Lil Twist was driving.
The rapper had been pulled over by California Highway Patrol officers. Guerra, who had been following the car day had thought Bieber was in the car. After he took pictures, Guerra was hit by another car as he returned to his own. He died later at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Bieber issued a statement calling for “meaningful legislation” on paparazzi regulation.
January 2-4 2013,
Although the incident took place on January 2, pictures of Bieber smoking pot with Lil Twist and a group of friends at Newport Beach hotel, Calif., emerged on January 4.
The singer later apologized in a sketch on Saturday Night Live on February 9.
January 23, 2013
Sweet Carolina Radio host Colette Harrington Schwoeri claims on her Facebook page that she had an ugly encounter with the pop star Ritz Carlton Hotel gym in Charlotte, North Carolina where he was playing on tour. Harrington said Bieber was rude to her and refused to pose for a photo. However, she did make it clear in a later post that she did not say he spat in her water bottle.
Bieber’s rep denied the story to TMZ and said the teen had been joshing among his friends and that no comments were directed to Schwoeri.
January 30, 2013
The singer is accused of groping a girl’s breast when he meets fans in Miami and the moment is caught on camera. The girl herself denied that was what actually happened.
February 2, 2013
TMZ posts an article saying pictures of Bieber, Lil Za and Lil Twist had emerged from a party where Za and Twist were seen rolling up blunts. Also on the table in the photographs were two sets of double cups, known as the typical way that the street cocktail called “sizzurp” — cough syrup with dextromethorphan and codeine which is then mixed with soda or alcohol to produce a high — is taken.
Bieber was apparently pictured drinking out of one of the double cups although TMZ noted that there was no evidence he was consuming the drug.
February 19, 2013
New details and phone recordings of a castration and murder plot against the singer are made public.
March 1-8, 2013
The previously mentioned infamous “rough week” during the London leg of the Believe tour was accompanied by social media venting from Bieber about what he called “fake stories.” The week ended with a violent threat by the singer to a British paparazzo after the photog swore at him. Repeatedly.
March 12, 2013
The singer cancels the second of two scheduled shows in Lisbon, Portugal at the Pavilhao Atlantico due to “unforseen circumstances.”
March 14, 2013
Bieber posts a lengthy instagram complaining about being compared to actress Lindsay Lohan and says he doesn’t deserve the negative press he’s getting. The singer undermines his efforts by asking his detractors to “look at her 2012 tax statements.” His initial post was then deleted and replaced with one without the Lohan reference. Most of what he wrote in the post was, in many respects, on point.
March 18, 2013
After it was widely reported that Bieber and his tour personnel were kicked out of Le Meurice hotel in Paris for encouraging fans to gather outside the hotel, it was later revealed by the singer’s representatives that the team had moved on for security reasons to do with access in and out of the hotel. IQ also called the hotel and spoke to a duty manager who confirmed this.
March 18, 2013
Bieber’s ex-girlfriend appears on Late Show With Letterman and reveals that she made the singer cry, by implication when they split up in November 2012.
March 25, 2013
Bieber is once again spotted shirtless in public. This time, at an airport in Lodz, Poland as he left the country following a concert. Temperatures were reported as -10 Celsius.
March 26, 2013
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrive at the singer’s home in Calabasas, Calif., at 09:08 am after a battery complaint is filed by Jeff Schwartz who claims the singer spat at and threatened to kill him after he confronted the star about racing his Ferrari that morning. No arrests are made.
March 27, 2013
Us Weekly publishes an interview given before the alleged battery incident.
Bieber says: “The biggest misconception about me is that I’m a bad person. I get upset about that. I have a big heart. I want to be a good role model, but some people want me to fail.”
March 28, 2013
The singer flies into Munich’s Franz Josef Strauss airport with his new birthday present, a capuchin monkey called Mally, before playing at concert in the city.
After failing to provide a health certificate and other necessary documents in customs, officials quarantine the monkey at Bieber’s expense. He is now facing a fine of $ 15,000 and possible prosecution.
March 29, 2013
TMZ posts a report along with pictures showing a March 19 party thrown by Lil Twist at Bieber’s Calabasas home. The website quotes a female source who says beer, marijuana, other alcohols and around 40 girls and a few guys were at the party. The pop star was not at the party as he was in Europe on tour.
March 31, 2013
Bieber was banned from an Austrian nightclub “Passage” amid claims that his security team — not the singer — smashed the cameras of fans at the club and even manhandled some of the female clubgoers, according to Austrian Times.
So can he, will he buck the fall-from-grace-to-destruction blueprint that many are anticipating?
Certainly, many of the above incidents can be blamed on the invasive behavior of the paparazzi and the unimaginable pressure of being targeted by unsavory characters. But, at some point Bieber will have to take responsibility for how he deals with the context of his life and the choices he makes.
If he doesn’t, others will do it for him.