Justin Bieber’s polarizing Believe tour transit finds no exception in Australia. While his fans delight in his concerts, a Gold Coast City Mayor, its city council, and an attorney-general remain immune to his Apollonic charms.
The reason? The 19-year-old’s new-found passion for graffiti.
Following his controversial trail through Latin America, Bieber and some of his crew spray-painted colorful cartoon characters, a Pacman ghost, and abstract shapes on a wall near a tennis court at the Gold Coast’s QT Hotel on Wednesday (Nov. 27), where he stayed during two Brisbane shows.
But unlike Brazil, where Bieber was charged with defacing the wall of the disused Hotel Nacional in Rio despite a permit to tag another walls, the QT Hotel explicitly gave the superstar permission to graffiti their private property.
Following criticism by Gold Coast City mayor Tom Tate, and a council order to the Hotel to remove or paint over Bieber’s wall, QT owners updated their Facebook page cover art on Thursday with a picture of the Canadian next to a sample of his graffiti and the words:
“He asked, and we said YES.”
In later Facebook posts, the hotel described Justin as “a lovely young guy” and has since launched an online search for local graffiti artists to adorn a dedicated wall at its complex to promote the Gold Coast art scene and graffiti as an art form.
Underscoring their approval of Bieber’s tagging, the hotel released an email statement on Friday.
“It was a coup for the hotel to have Justin want to paint a piece of art in appreciation of his stay,” it read. “This piece of art is now available to be viewed by fans of the artist and we believe that it is a wonderful addition to the colorful Gold Coast arts scene.”
All of this, of course, makes Tate’s and the council’s claims that Bieber vandalized the hotel seem a little daft, as the very nature of that term denotes something unwanted.
Tate’s efforts to deal with his city’s apparent “scourge” by focusing on the visiting heartthrob have run to his hand-delivery of a “graffiti removal kit” to the QT hotel, tweeting the singer to clean up his “mess,” and issuing a Showdown at the O.K.Corral ultimatum via AAP.
”I know he’s got beautiful eyes. I’ve got some goggles for him, and some gloves because I know he doesn’t want to get his hands dirty.” the politician said, clearly unaware of Bieber’s funding and hands-on help building a school for impoverished children in Guatemala, Central America.
Tate added, ”Just come and clean it up and we’ll be happy with you. Alternatively come and sing at our mayoral Christmas carols on the 7th of December for an hour and I’ll let you go.”
For his part Bieber seems undaunted by the fuss.
After a reportedly well-received second concert at Sydney’s Allphones Arena on Saturday, Bieber posted a tweet which may indicate he plans to visit a stricken fan in Melbourne during his next tour stop.
As reported by the Herald Sun, Kate O’Neill, 19, spent thousands on tickets to every Believe show in Australia but was seriously injured just weeks ago in a car accident. Her friends and family have been campaigning online for Justin to visit and brought her plight to the singer’s attention at a Sydney “Meet and Greet.” Now it looks like that visit or some kind of contact is going to happen.
Score one for common sense.
JUSTIN HELD A PHOTO OF ME AND THIS IS THE ONLY PHOTO HE ACTUALLY SMILED IN AGZNANDKAHAKAL I CANT STOP CRYING pic.twitter.com/8KM9AxjAyq
— kate (@BieberMelbourne) November 28, 2013
Great show again in Sydney. Love Australia. Thank u. Melbourne is next. I have something special to take care of there. #believe
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) November 30, 2013