Justin Bieber is accused of allegedly punching a photographer in Paris on Tuesday.
The alleged incident happened as the pop star and his crew were trying to move through photographers and into their hotel, shortly after the Biebs dined with Kendall Jenner.
Mail Online — which like most UK tabloids, has dispensed with journalistic traditions like the use of “allegedly” and “reportedly” — comes straight out with an accusation.
“The 20-year-old pop star attacked the paparazzo outside his hotel in the French capital as he arrived back following a lunch date with reality TV star Kendall Jenner,” the newspaper writes.
“Details of exactly what happened are unclear,” the UK outlet adds.
Until video evidence to support the claim that Bieber “punched” a photographer surfaces, restraint in media reporting seems advisable looking at the undeniable paparazzi scrum and chaos that greeted Bieber when he arrived back at the Four Seasons George V hotel on Tuesday from the Ferdi bar and restaurant.
Bieber arrived in Paris Monday with his girlfriend Selena Gomez after a Caribbean break.
He was seen picking up Kendall in a chauffeured Rolls Royce before they went to Ferdi.
Pictures of the paparazzi engulfing the Canadian singer when he arrived back at the hotel show something of a free-for-all went down.
In addition to the throng of fans that the singer tried to meet and greet under a barrage of flash lights and the crowd’s pushing, Bieber and his bodyguards appeared badly in need of police assistance amid the seemingly out of control paparazzi pack.
From photos, Bieber looks as if he’s trying to clear a path to walk, which suggests he was not being given enough space by photographers.
(Photos: Bieber appears to punch a photographer but this is not established as fact.)
In one shot that Mail Online and other outlets published, Justin’s fist is seen in a clenched pose inches away from a paparazzo’s face. In another, his hand is seen by a paparazzo’s neck.
It’s not clear whether there was any actual contact between Bieber’s hands and the paps, or whether the freeze frames are “looks like” moments that tabloids known for fact-fudging are now possibly taking advantage of.
Noting, the “lying” that Mail Online was called out for by actor George Clooney over their claim that his (now) wife’s mother objected to his then impending marriage to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, more coercive reporting has repeatedly been seen in the paper’s coverage of Bieber.
Take their October 1 “punching” story. While text inside the Mail Online’s report declares, “Justin Bieber punched a photographer in Paris on Tuesday,” the actual title of the article states:
Given that a “punch” is stronger than “lashes out,” the paper’s decision to go with “lashes out” as a header suggests it doesn’t know whether Bieber threw a punch, shove, or slap, or whether any substantive physicality took place at all.
Mail Online writes, “[Bieber] He seemed ready for battle thanks to his attire which he wore with black trainers and he completed the look with black shades and a gold bracelet.”
At the time, Biebs was wearing a camouflage pants and jacket outfit which millions of kids, teenagers, and older wear around the world, and are stocked in most fashion shops.
(Photo: Bieber appears overwhelmed in the middle of a chaotic mix of paparazzi and fans in Paris, September 30.)
TMZ goes in for the same broad statement making in its “Justin Bieber Punching Paps in Paris” post.
It’s only when a site visitor enters past that clickbait title that the outlet calms its language down, writing,
“Justin Bieber mixed it up Tuesday with the paparazzi in Paris and appeared to throw a punch during the fracas.”
The outlet publishes the same key photos as Mail Online. While Justin’s difficult history with paparazzi is well-documented and under focus in multiple civil lawsuits, there are two glaring questions not one tabloid has bothered to ask:
Why were the paparazzi so close to Bieber in the first place? Did anyone notice the look of total panic on Bieber’s face during the melee?
It’s telling that the trauma of having a scrum of paparazzi descend on one youngster with the aim of making money is never discussed by the industry that buys what photogs sell.
Take a look at a video of Bieber facing the paparazzi chaos on Tuesday.
[Images via Ramey/TMZ.]