Justin Bieber was reportedly baptized in a bathtub in New York City last month while his team were blackmailed over videos of the singer making racist jokes and using the N-word several years ago.
Justin Bieber was reportedly baptized in a bathtub in New York City (NYC) last month during an anxious period in which the 20-year-old and his team were being blackmailed over videos of the singer making racist jokes several years ago.
So far, two videos – one of Bieber as a 15-year-old telling a racist joke and using the N-word as a punchline, and as a 14-year-old singing a parody of his 2009 single “One Less Lonely Girl” as “One Less Lonely N-Word“ – have been published by the UK’s The Sun newspaper since June 1.
After his second apology on Wednesday, June 4, he said in part: “Facing my mistakes from years ago has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with,” adding:
“At the end of the day I just need to step up and face what I did.”
Justin also posted three New Testament passages about forgiveness and a text from Sarah Young’s best seller “Jesus Calling” to his Instagram page. It’s since been reported he has been tearful since the racism storm erupted.
According to TMZ, the videos wound up at The Sun after a two month shakedown attempt of Bieber’s team failed a week before.
The gossip site claims the two N-word videos emerged publicly following an extortion attempt by a man “who had worked on the star’s videos.” Bieber’s ex-collaborator reportedly wanted between $500,000 and $1 million to withhold the footage.
Justin’s reps are said to have declined the offer, believing exposure of the videos would not be that harmful as the singer was so young in them.
No doubt anguished over the threat of the N-word videos leaking — rightly, as it turns out, given the media coverage and public ire since — Justin spent an week of bible study with his friend Pastor Carl Lentz of the Hillsong Church NYC in May, Lentz reportedly told TMZ.
The site adds the singer also attended church services during that week, at the end of which he was baptized by Lentz in a friend’s bathtub.
(Photo:Lentz and Bieber at the Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game in Oklahoma on May 13.)
Bieber, who had a “cross” tattoo inked in January and has relinquished much of his skin to religious or meaningful words tattoos, is said to have settled on a bathtub due to being unable to find a church that could ensure his privacy.
To Christians, a baptism bestows a washing away of old “sins” and rebirth as a “cleansed” and “resurrected” disciple of the “Lord.”
However, although the extortion attempts over Bieber’s yesteryear N-word videos were the latest stress-inducing motivation behind his May baptism, the singer previously tried to get re-baptized earlier this year.
Back in February, the New York’s Post Page Six reported the Canadian looked for a private pool in Manhattan while in NYC for pre-Super Bowl parties. Sources told Page Six:
“Justin and his team spent time on Saturday searching for a place with a pool where they could conduct a baptism for him, a cleansing ritual with the Hillsong Church.But they couldn’t find a place in time.”
At the time, another insider said: “Justin is serious about his Christian faith and after recent events, he needed to take a pause.”
(Photo: Bieber, Lentz and Smith at The Hollywood Reporter interview in October 2013.)
Last September Justin tweeted that he “broke down” during an “amazing sermon” by Lentz at Hillsong Church NYC, while Smith previously revealed he selects Biblical texts for Bieber to read.
Love to my guy @carllentzNYC for the amazing sermon at church this morning. Love you man. I broke down today. Thank u :)
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) September 9, 2013
More recently, speaking to CBN, Pastor Lentz said of Bieber: “I love Justin, he’s a good kid. He’s trying to figure this out. His behavior… you know, he’s figuring it out.”
The Pastor added: “What should we do? People who are like, ‘Is he even a Christian?’ With Justin, I tell people grace and acceptance does not mean approval.”
“I can accept you as a human being and not approve of your actions. That’s how we’ve been loved. We love — because we were first loved.”
Seemingly responding to online criticism for not denouncing Bieber after the N-word videos leaked, Lentz tweeted:
I hate to see peoples past mistakes cause pain in the present.. I’m proud of @justinbieber, the man he is/is becoming, despite old videos..
— carl lentz (@carllentzNYC) June 5, 2014
Doesn’t condone or excuse anything. But around here? We don’t desert people when things get messy.. Have a great day!! — carl lentz (@carllentzNYC) June 5, 2014
Bieber’s bathtub baptism comes after a wild, 15-month Jacob’s Ladder ride through widely reported incidents both on and off his Believe tour last year, invasive media coverage of his seemingly extremely active love life and ongoing legal troubles.
In addition to civil lawsuits arising from alleged clashes with paparazzi from 2012 and 2013, Justin’s fate over his alleged role in the egging of his ex-neighbor’s house in California, an assault charge in Toronto, Canada and a July 7 DUI trial, are all still to be decided.
Small wonder the singer has returned to the Christian faith he was raised in by his mother Pattie Mallette, and chosen to receive baptism.
(Photo: via Instagram Bieber and Mallette in a reflective moment on Mother’s Day at Los Angeles Clippers game where he was booed.)
Among celebrities of the opinion that Bieber’s child/teen “racist” remarks should not be held against him now, are:
Producer and rapper Soulja Boy, Atlanta rap trio Migos, Trey Songz, champion boxer Floyd Mayweather, 50 Cent, Christian rapper Brandon Burke, The View co-host /actress Whoopi Goldberg, former boxer Mike Tyson, Young Money Entertainment and UK comedians Ricky Gervais and Russell Brand.
In addition, Bieber’s first mentor Usher posted an Instagram message on Saturday stating his protégé was “unequivocally not a racist.”
Of Justin he added: “What he was 5 years ago was a naive child who did not understand the negative power and degradation that comes from playing with racial slurs. What he is now is a young man faced with an opportunity to become his best self, an example to the millions of kids that follow him to not make the same mistakes.”