Justin Bieber has been given a stark ultimatum from his longtime manager Scooter Braun. The 32-year-old says he has told the singer he needs to either accept that critics and the world will criticize – sometimes fairly, sometimes not; or quit the music business and try to live a “normal” life.
Speaking to GQ magazine for its March issue, Braun – who discovered the then 12-year-old YouTube sensation in 2007 – revealed how difficult Bieber finds it to deal with the negative backlash he is experiencing and admits the teenager “gets so angry.”
Braun has mentioned this Bieber personality trait before. Last November, in a Hollywood Reporter interview, he said of the singer,
“I think his moments of anger come from his resentment towards the ridicule [and] of being judged for things, which a lot of times he hasn’t even done.”
Here at IQ, we’ve covered a lot of those instances Justin is referring to, and there’s no doubt the determined media practice of painting a simplistic ‘bad boy’ view of the singer for lazy audiences is widespread across most media outlets.
However, the 19-year-old has helped to turn himself into a walking punchline, most recently with his alleged egging of his neighbor’s home which prompted a raid by Los Angeles police, and a suspected DUI arrest in Miami last Thursday.
Braun continued: “We’ve talked that sometimes he doesn’t help himself because he’s so angry about it. But no one really understands what he’s living [through], only him.”
To the outside looking in, Bieber’s transformation from floppy-haired pop moppet to tattooed, hellraiser has made him few friends. And if the US box office for the Believe movie is any indication, it’s lost him some fans along the way.
But it’s also likely many of these have no comprehension of the pressures that come with a life of no privacy, so-called friends or others who sell your private moments for a buck, and the relentless feeling of needing to top your last achievement.
After over a year of paparazzi disputes, a monkey saga, public spitting, visits to strip clubs and a brothel, the conspicuous enjoyment of his money which seems to rile some, a rash of late concerts, heavy-handed bodyguards, a very unfortunate mop bucket encounter — and more — Bieber’s brand is damaged.
The higher you rise, the harder you fall. And in today’s gladiator-entertainment arena, Bieber is being pushed to his “splat” moment.
So, can the soar-destroy blueprint be bucked?
Braun talks like he thinks they can. “I think to help him get through that I have to hold him to a higher standard,” he tells GQ.
“I can’t baby him, I can’t tell him, ‘You know what you deserve, to say f**k everybody, this is unfair.’ I can say there is only one way around this, either we quit and let you try and find a normal life or you realise that this is what this is and we’ve got to keep fighting.”
He adds: “And you’re going to hate me some days because I’m going to say you can’t throw a punch. You want to go out there and you want to bash their heads in and say this isn’t fair; you want to say you don’t know me. But the only way you’re going to win them over is by being better than they are.'”
Easier said than done. Just six days after a We the People petition was launched to deport Bieber and revoke his Green Card the day of his DUI arrest, it has already surpassed the 100,000 signatures needed to “force” a response from the President Obama and the White House.
Meanwhile Bieber friend, Ariana Grande, told Extra at the recent Grammy Awards, “I think people should lighten up on him. I mean he’s so isolated and nobody understands what he goes through.”
Jamie Foxx chimed, “Hopefully someone wraps their arms around that young guy because he’s a talented kid.”
While Willie Nelson said, “He’ll be all right. Let him grow up and then we’ll talk about him.”
Lucien Grange, Universal Music Group boss, broke with company protocol at his label’s after-Grammy event, and said of Bieber to The News Confidenti@l,
“I’m very concerned about him. I’ve been concerned about him for many months. He needs help. He needs an intervention.”
“We are going to give all the support as a company to take as much pressure off him so he can look forward. Hopefully, we will all get through to him,” the record label chief added.
Braun and Bieber recently returned from a trip to Panama where they were joined by Usher and reportedly the singer’s mother – Pattie Mallette.
It’s thought it may have been the intervention called for or a prelude to one.
Either way, Braun’s impossible ultimatum is now in effect. Can Bieber rise above the fray?