The claim that TMZ have been blackmailing Justin Bieber and his team for years with some kind of sensitive material to allegedly extort access, scoops and compliance is a persistent rumor.
Until recently it’s only been whispered in Blind Gossip items, marginals, destinations like in-the-know maven Janet Charlton’s Hollywood or word-of-mouth. None of which are of much interest to, or accessed by the mainstream.
Now, that’s all changed.
In a Thursday, June 5 report, at Gawker’s Defamer blog aren’t claiming TMZ blackmailed Team Bieber. They’re stating it.
According to Gawker, the prize used by TMZ to extort Team Bieber to play ball is the first racist joke video that recently surfaced.
It’s claimed red flags like TMZ photogs being in exactly the right place at the right time when Justin takes an unannounced walk, timely interference in ongoing legal cases, or trumping a UK tabloid and other examples — are evidence of the ‘arrangement’ at work.
Last Sunday, British tabloid The Sun published a video of a then 15-year-old Bieber telling a bad taste joke with an N-word punchline.
It came out, everyone went nuts — and within hours the Bieber camp released a well-written apology for a “reckless and immature mistake” that the singer seemed to be genuinely sorry for.
TMZ swung into action too. In their post on Sunday, they uploaded the racial slur video and revealed they had the clip in their vaults “4 years ago” but “decided not to post it… in large part because he was 15 and immediately told his friends what he did was stupid.”
The site also clarified that Bieber was 15 in the then first N-word video, not 17 as The Sun claimed.
The footage is most likely to have been shot from the summer of 2010 ahead of Bieber’s concerts at Madison Square Garden on August 31 and September 1, 2010, for the 2011 biopic Never Say Never.
Levin has since publicly repeated the claim that TMZ didn’t post Bieber’s racist joke video because of his tender age.
Multiple sources beg to differ.
Defamer claims these insiders are well up to speed on Levin’s editorial operations, adding that the “racist joke” clip was kept a secret to “hold it over Bieber and his team’s heads in exchange for appearances on TMZ‘s media properties and cooperation with stories.”
One source tells the site, “TMZ has been sitting on this video for 3+ years, and have been using it as essentially ransom so that Bieber and his team would cooperate with them and give them scoops.”
Adding,”It was very close to being released initially but his team was able to convince them not to by giving them access and compliance.”
A TMZ spokesperson has reportedly denied allegations of extortion as “absolutely not true.”
While duly noting that, Defamer added that Bieber’s stunningly non-sequitur appearance on TMZ Live in 2011 was sealed the day after the site came to an arrangement with the singer’s team.
At the time and since many have mused as to what the boy-king was doing swimming in the murky soup of a TMZ Live show which usually features reality and porn stars, and still does.
For Bieber’s part, the 16-year-old said on the show he chose to drop in after running into “my boy Harvey” at a sushi restaurant close by.
It’s said the details of the alleged access-for-suppression pact were agreed between Bieber, his manager Scooter Braun and Levin.
A source tells Defamer the skeeviness [our word] doesn’t sit too well with mentor, Usher.
“Usher, who was Justin’s mentor, found out about it and was less than pleased, as you can imagine,” says a source.
On Wednesday, a second video of 14-year-old Bieber singing, “There’ll be one less lonely n*****, if I kill you, I’ll be part of the KKK,” in a devolved version of “One Less Lonely Girl” appeared at TMZ hours after The Sun’s report, which at the time didn’t yet include video.
Along with the video of the song, the site claimed Bieber’s camp has been extorted for years over the racist joke clip, with the most recent allegedly being a shakedown attempt for $1 million two months ago.
It’s claimed a man who worked with Justin on one of his video projects somehow managed to copy the racist joke video.
Bieber team reportedly refused to deal even when the price lowered, allegedly believing the video’s exposure wouldn”t be too”harmful” as the singer was only 15-years-old at the time.
For Bieber, there may be worse to come. Page Six and other sources are reporting at least 15-20 minutes of the singer allegedly rattling off racial slurs and jokes taken from the same material shot for the biopic, is coming down the pipe.