When the “Drake Bell tells a Justin Bieber fan ‘I hope you die soon'” story surfaced out of nowhere on Monday, it was a time to pause.
Mostly, to give the ex-Nickelodeon actor time to challenge it as the work of hackers, as he did over rude comments tweeted about Katy Perry in 2012, or “misquoted” as he accused BuzzFeed of doing after he blasted Ariana Grande in their April 2 interview.
There was also No.2. It seemed too ridiculous that a 28-year-old man — even one with a history of over two years of unilateral Twitter bashing Justin Bieber (before the Canadian’s tame crashing of Bell’s album release party), and provoking of Beliebers — would actually articulate a desire for a female teen to “die.”
That last point cannot be stressed enough.
Any adult who expresses to another individual — and, especially a youngster — that they hope for their death (in a non-life threatening context), is demonstrating a ground zero loss of self-control. And, in Bell’s case, a moral high ground he didn’t occupy in the first place.
Following Drake’s Instagram comment on the Belieber’s account page, Bell issued what he believed was a rational explanation.
“So a belieber floods me with spam telling me she hopes I die soon over and over, so I give it back and I’m the bad guy?!” Bell protested. “Kids need to chill.”
The crucial, Freudian slip in that response is the word, “kids.”
In reality, Bell – an adult – willingly gets into the sandbox with kids/teen fans and has done for two and a half years. He antagonizes them, baits them, and deliberately presses their idol/projection/defense/react buttons — then cries victim when they do exactly that.
That Drake seems to be unaware of his likely sub-sadistic compulsion, while displaying the very qualities he slams in fandoms — personalized, hyperbolic attacks — reveals an acute disconnect between his words and actions, and a critical lack of self-awareness.
A tracing of the “Drake & Josh” alum’s first goading tweet to then just 18-years-old Bieber — who, at that time was not in legal strife — to his escalating attacks on him and his fans, indicates Bell wants and needs a reaction from the younger star or his admirers, just like a common bully in a playground.
It’s possible that the attention Bell craves from Beliebers is — in his mind — somehow a substitute for Bieber.
I wouldn’t randomly bash @katyperry….bieber however lol
— Drake Bell (@DrakeBell) July 3, 2012
I haven’t listened to much Justin Bieber but his songs must be full of hate and rage because that’s what his believers are filled with..
— Drake Bell (@DrakeBell) July 23, 2012
I used to worry about being a good role model and not using profanity in my media but obviously if this is how bieber fans act…. — Drake Bell (@DrakeBell) July 24, 2012
Bieber’s sole reaction, until his release party crash two years later, was this singular tweet:
Drake and Josh was my favorite show as a kid. really. — Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) July 24, 2012
In the interim, Bell consistently attacked Justin’s physicality, musical abilities while leveling insinuations about his gender. Similar tweets followed from March 2013 when the then 19-year-old Bieber began hitting headlines on and off his Believe tour.
In his cyber-assaults, Bell evidently delighted in mocking the oft non-grammatically correct, angry responses of Beliebers.
Most are still developing children or hormonal, teenage girls. It’s the equivalent of a “bad teacher/bad Santa” playing mind-games because he knows the odds are forever stacked in his favor.
Ok first belieber with proper grammar that speaks with intelligence gets a prize…ready go!
— Drake Bell (@DrakeBell) July 24, 2012
Even before Bieber’s January 23, 2014 arrest on suspicion of DUI (and Bell’s retweeting of Seth Rogen’s infamous fecal tweet), then urging his fans to sign the “Deport Justin Bieber” petition (Bell dubbed it a “movement”), he was condemning anything the pop singer did — even the harmless graffiti of a penguin.
“If I catch one of my fans saying something improper, a gay slur or any derogatory term, I instantly tweet directly at them and say, ‘This isn’t how we do it.'”
When is someone going to tell this idiot he can’t draw.His art is almost as bad as his music. Talentless artless pic.twitter.com/N3xiPFfQNz
— Drake Bell (@DrakeBell) January 16, 2014
https://t.co/dUmUrRkKxZ become a part of the movement!!!
— Drake Bell (@DrakeBell) January 27, 2014
In that interview, Bell notably went after Bieber and targets who had angered his pal, the blogger Perez Hilton, namely Lady Gaga and Grande, calling all three artists “entitled” and “repulsive” and accusing them of not reining in their “out of control” fans.
Fatuously adding that he emulated Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Michael Jackson, while billing himself as “all about unity and loving your neighbor,” and someone who believes it’s “more rewarding and important to go around the world and bring people together,” Bell has since remained oblivious to how harmful an example his online and offline behavior is.
Just before Bieber’s one-time, fight back — the party crashing on April 17 — Drake used an airport layover and chance meeting with Aaron Carter to post Instavids slamming the “Believe” singer.
But one of Drake’s nastiest acts came less than 24 hours after that launch party, when he inserted himself into a Twitter conversation Justin had with his dad after an over decade-old story about Jeremy Bieber’s alleged assault of a girl in Canada surfaced.
Justin wrote: “I love you pops @jeremybieber. You’re a great father and my best friend.”
To which, his father replied, “@justinbieber ty. I am a better man because of you. #love #family.”
Drake promptly tweeted Bieber with the tabloid story screenshot then deleted it, but not before Gossip Cop caught it.
In Bell’s world, he gets to dole out two years of insults, but the one time Bieber responded with a non-casualty prank, instead of reflecting,”Fair enough I’ll give you that, I asked for it and it doesn’t begin to compare to what I’ve meted out over the years,” the actor’s instinct was to zero in on where he knew it would hurt on a profound level.
In May, Drake jumped all over Bieber following the first alleged attempted robbery claim, in which a woman claimed Bieber grabbed her purse at a miniature golf/batting cage center.
He tweeted, “When will it end??!! Are we really STILL putting up with this?!”
No apology ever issued from Bell to Bieber for his assumptions. He later exerted time and effort during the Orlando Bloom Internet frenzy in July, tweeting hate.
Looking at the trajectory, Drake’s one-sided, exponential obsession with Bieber appears to have reached an endgame where he has reduced himself to wishing death on a teenager. One he chose to engage with and incite to an immature reaction, which presumably gives Bell a psych/emotional pay-off.
The reasons and pathology behind Drake’s alternately “bully/poor me” dynamic are likely complex and deep-seated. But, it’s time for the people who know and care about this once teen star, now morally and financially bankrupt, celebrity troll, to reach out and get him the professional help he clearly needs.