Justin Bieber stripped to his boxers and turned boos to cheers last night while the Fashion Rocks audience in Brooklyn immortalized the moment on smartphones.
Not that anyone would know it from most humorless, revisionist headlines. Bieber’s strip in front of millions, with his press and in Brooklyn — took balls, and cheers dominated by the end of it.
While the brand hasn’t announced anything, there is talk the spectacle is part of a step-by-step process in introducing the 20-year-old singer as the new male celebrity face of Calvin Klein Underwear.
Aside from Bieber’s ex-bodyguard, Kenny Hamilton, posting, then deleting, congratulations to the singer via Instagram, the jig was possibly up once the Canadian star hit the Fashion Rocks stage with confirmed campaign model Lara Stone.
Back in July, Mail Online reported a source familiar with the underwear giant’s dealings, as saying:
“Justin has shot for Calvin Klein, we hope the results will be released later this year.”
Shortly after, E! News confirmed an insider said the singer had filmed a photo shoot for the label, although brand reps declined to comment.
Before that, a repeated lack of a denial of Bieber’s involvement by the brand, an NYC trip in April where he was seen at the studio with model pal Kendall Jenner and Twitter teases in March fueled campaign rumors.
It’s very likely many will scoff at Bieber as Klein’s choice, citing brawnier predecessors — Mark Wahlberg and David Beckham — as better celebrity role models. Others may dislike Bieber for his well-documented antics.
But it’s probable Klein aren’t sweating Justin’s youthful exploits too much. Back in the early 1990’s, Wahlberg fronted a campaign for the brand, and his past is far more troubling than Bieber’s.
Watch Bieber’s Strip:
Then hear the audience’s boos change to cheers:
When Wahlberg was 15, civil actions were filed against him in two incidents for harassing African-American children. The first case involved taunting and attacking siblings. In the second, Wahlberg threw rocks and yelled racial slurs at kids on a school field trip.
Then, at 16, Mark attacked a middle-aged Vietnamese man on the street, by knocking him unconscious with a wooden stick while shouting racial epithets.
That same day, Wahlberg attacked another Vietnamese man with pals, gouging out one of his eyes with a meathook. He was later charged with attempted murder, but pleaded guilty to assault and sentenced to two years in a Boston prison at 17 — of which he served just 45 days, ABC News, Forbes, Vanity Fair and other sources report.
In another violent incident, the then 21-year-old Mark fractured the jaw of a neighbor in an unprovoked attack.
In 2002, after featuring British supermodel Kate Moss in his campaign a few years before, Klein helped revive her career by giving Moss a fresh contract after allegations of cocaine use surfaced.
It certainly puts Bieber’s egg-throwing, non-drag racing, paparazzi-related troubles in less hysterical perspective, non?
As far as affirmative reasons why Bieber deserves a shot as a CK underwear model, let’s count the ways:
1: In terms of generating headlines and making sure Calvin Klein maintains or builds on its relevance — loathe him or love him, Bieber ticks that box.
2: Obviously, the singer is smaller than even an your average supermodel. But, then, so is the rest of humanity.
But, it also can’t be denied that Bieber is ripped and toned and incites hysteria among his mainly teen constituency.
Grandma always said kill ’em with kindness…and then strip on live national tv. Lol. https://t.co/bKbeDJVsqJ
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) September 10, 2014
3: Even before Justin smiled, stripped and stuttered his way through boos at the Barclays Center and became (alongside Miranda Lambert), the only memorable thing at CBS’ back-after-six-years fashion meets music event, he has long been a fan of the underwear label.
Every selfie in which the pop star’s underwear is visible, invariably reveals Calvins.
— Calvin Klein (@CalvinKlein) September 10, 2014
4: About those boos last night, and most of the occasions the singer has been booed at, they’re usually male in gender — not female. Which is telling, if reflected on.
5: In a vaguely dull, young adult, celebrity landscape, Bieber is easily the most identifiable celebrity to fit Calvin Klein’s stylish, edgy appeal and has star wattage for days. Throw in his love of fashion and the pair are good to go.
Bottom line? Strip away the acutely, bad press — some of it self-made by Bieber, but also a fair amount of clickbait-content or angling, that ignores the singer’s child star to wild teen pathology — and there’s very likely a misunderstood kid under all that drop-crotch front.
“I actually don’t feel comfortable unless I’m in my Calvins,” he told co-host CK model Lara Stone last night. If, as we strongly suspect, Justin Bieber is the new male celebrity face of Calvin Klein Underwear, “Fashion Rocks” showed he has the balls to fill them.
Don’t believe us? Just try stripping down to an arena of boos and keeping a smile on your face.
@usweekly Good job Biebs!! F your critics…they are there to smash you down…keep creating
— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) September 10, 2014
[Images via Getty/Just Jared.]