Justin Bieber wasn’t to know today’s Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition protest was a hoax. But perhaps the media outlets behind the 45,000 national and international articles generated as a result of the “protest” – IQ included – or the bleary-eyed field reporter on a CBS Local Atlanta early morning live stream should have?
CNN previously reported residents in Atlanta’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood were up in arms when reports of Bieber’s supposedly eyeing the seven-bedroom mansion sited at 421 Blackland Road surfaced. A 06.00 am Monday protest was quickly organized by old money retirees Mr. and Mrs. Harold White.
Or so we thought.
The wife launched a “Protest Justin Bieber Moving to Buckhead” Facebook page to gather up support. By Sunday night, 444 indicated they would be attending and meeting at the updated location of the Blackland and Roswell road junction instead of the Blackland house.
But earlier today, under a still dark sky, CBS reported only three guys in suits and placards rocked up, while two other protestors were actually there to mock the event. The outlet said the media presence outnumbered the protestors, which obviously wasn’t hard.
No-one knew quite why the shortfall was so drastic. But now we do. The whole thing was a hoax.
Fox Atlanta reports, hosts of The Regular Guys Show morning show on Rock 100.5 Atlanta have since revealed they pretended to be the Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition. The whole protest was a stunt. According to the show’ hosts, interns used false names to give interviews to local media outlets and national media outlets, like CNN, BBC and TMZ.
So the world was introduced to a virtual Mr. and Ms Harold White. CNN reported the couple were long-term residents of Buckhead, and no-one batted an eye-lid when Mr. White offered this questionable comment about Bieber and his associates.
“We’re concerned he’ll bring the wrong type of element into a quiet, residential area.It is our position that a person with his means could certainly find a neighborhood more suited to his ‘eclectic’ lifestyle.”
And those three guys in suits holding up signs one of which read, “No Bieber on Blackland”?
These ladies are actually making fun if the handful of Bieber protesters, yet participating as well. pic.twitter.com/VyVkM6ikwi
— Michael Daly (@MdalyFox5) February 24, 2014
This morning’s hoax was indeed odd but it was also a welcome respite from the daily media hysteria about Bieber and its dissection of every tweet, Instagram, or event – such as the name change on his social media account to ‘Bizzle,’ which kicked off assumptions about the singer supposedly switching to a rap career.
If only Bieber would play along. He’s since teased an R&B slow jam with musical collaborator Khalil Sharieff last week. And on Friday, he dropped a new defiant song “Broken” directed to his detractors in which the only rap to be found to came from rapper Blake Kelly.
The Buckhead hoax brought levity to the grind of the tabloid’s reporting on Bieber – including the entertainment news cycle’s best kept secret; that the majority of sources used in gossip stories are invented or and much of the narrative is deliberately skewed negative.
In Bieber’s case this serves to cement a caricature with no light and shade. Instead of what he is, a teenager having a wobble who is in need of a time out, probably some therapy, and definitely a marijuana break.
Among the numerous examples of this biased Bieber narrative, is the inexplicable “strutting,” or “cocky” interpretation many outlets went with over the jail video of the singer getting a pat down from an officer at Miami Beach police station following his DUI arrest last month.
Those adjectives were an extrapolation of terms used in the related police report. A report we are now latterly told was written in part by one arresting officer with serious credibility issues to say the least. There was no sign of strutting from Bieber in the pat down video and and he appeared to cooperate fully with commands.
Another example of the cycle’s refusal to assimilate information that negates its own fiction is Bieber’s DUI toxicology report.
The report revealed the active ingredient of marijuana and xanax were present in the singer’s system at the time of his arrest. Yet, still reports state the singer is a “sizzurp” addict, which would have produced evidence of opiates. There were no opiates in his system.
While some views expressed at the fake Buckhead Neighborhood Coalition Facebook page were critical of Bieber, the irrationality of the protest’s premise also prompted considerable outrage that Bieber was being prejudged over what is likely the 19-year-old’s attempt to put the drama of recent months behind him and get a new, fresh start in Atlanta.
“My view is, if he wants to buy a house, he has a right to buy a house wherever he wants to,” said Tuxedo Road resident John Barge. “I don’t see that [a protest is] going to lead anywhere as a practical matter.”
“Hopefully he’s moving here to get a new start and slow down a little bit,” Brittany Verloo adds. “I don’t have a problem with it.”
Bieber is currently staying in Atlanta – he lived there back in 2008 – at record producer pal Dallas Austin’s “spaceship-like” property. He is reportedly recording a new hip-hop leaning album while shopping for a home.
Buckhead Without Bieber. One sign protestors are holding right now. Neighbors don’t want the pop star to relocate. pic.twitter.com/7PUARUFXHa
— Kaitlyn Pratt Fox 5 (@Fox5Kaitlyn) February 24, 2014