After threatening a defamation lawsuit, Justin Bieber and his legal team have received a poorly worded retraction from a website which posted a clearly photoshopped photo and GIF of the singer, alleging they were less buff, “un-retouched” images from the Canadian’s Calvin Klein photo shoot.
At the outset, the Inquisitr notes that the website, Breathe Heavy, wouldn’t have issued a retraction if they could solidly stand by their claims.
Two days after Bieber was revealed on Tuesday (Jan. 6) as the new face of Calvin Klein’s spring 2015 Underwear and Jeans campaign alongside model Lara Stone, Breathe Heavy posted a snap and GIF at their Instagram page, claiming they were sent an “un-retouched” image of Bieber from “a source connected” to his CK shoot.
As a result, the fake “un-retouched” image went viral, and Breathe Heavy’s site crashed at one point from the traffic increase. In addition, previously appreciative media reporting on Bieber’s ripped physique in the Calvin Klein print ad shots was replaced by scornful, body-shaming articles.
The picture appeared to show the Biebs looking considerably smaller than his physique in the official Calvin Klein print ad, which shows the shirtless singer modeling Calvins while ripped all over.
However, in addition to Bieber fans who pointed out the tell-tale signs of photoshopping on the so-called “un-retouched” pic, a retouching photo expert told MTV News that they didn’t think Breathe Heavy’s shot was a “raw image” from Bieber’s CK photo shoot. Meanwhile, Jezebel declared the snap was “fake as hell.”
Compared to the countless selfies Bieber posts on social media, the photoshopping of the so-called “un-retouched” pic was obvious.
Breathe Heavy issued a mealy-mouthed retraction on their website after receiving a cease and desist letter from Bieber’s legal team.
According to TMZ — which obtained a copy of the letter — Bieber’s team demanded that the site remove the fake “un-retouched” photo and acknowledge the deception of claiming Calvin Klein photoshopped muscles, buffness, and a bigger bulge onto Bieber’s body.
The site has now removed the photoshopped, “un-retouched” pic from their site, and later removed the Instagram GIF from their account. The site acknowledged that the image they posted was photoshopped, but has not stated they were aware of the deception.
Below is the photo of Bieber before the photoshop and Breathe Heavy’s statement, which admits photoshopping took place.
The site wrote by the image: “Retraction This was Justin Bieber’s Calvin Klein Photo Sans Photoshop.”
In their formal retraction, Breathe Heavy stated they removed the image due to the lawsuit threat also claiming they didn’t want to make “anyone feel bad,” as opposed to stating they posted the pic and alleged it was “un-retouched” when they either knew it wasn’t — or had a reasonable doubt that it was fake.
In addition, the site’s apology snarks at Bieber by suggesting the singer’s team threatened to sue because Bieber’s “ego” has been hurt, rather than the legally-based reason that the fake “un-retouched” pic damaged the 20-year-old’s brand since the Calvin Klein campaign markets him as authentically buff.
This is Breathe Heavy’s retraction:
Team Bieber sent BreatheHeavy a cease and desist letter because of the alleged un-retouched Calvin Klein photo we posted, asking we remove the picture in question as well as provide a retraction.
“Because BreatheHeavy is not about making anyone feel bad or intentionally stirring the pot (and are definitely not here for lawsuits), we shall retract the story per request. Bieber denies the photo is real, and I respect that and will believe him.”
They added, “We sincerely apologize to Bieber for the hit to his ego and to the millions of tweens on social media we upset: Swag swag swag, on you. Chillin’ by the fire while we eatin’ fondue.”
Regarding the implication that the photoshopped, “un-retouched” pic of Bieber suggested padding was added to his bulge, the website linked to a recent statement given to Access Hollywood by the Biebs’ fitness trainer, Patrick Nilsson, “vouching” for the singer’s crotch.
“I can definitely confirm that he is a well-endowed guy”, Nilsson told Access, adding, “I sound weird saying that, but yes.” Nilsson can be seen speaking to Access in this video.
Breathe Heavy also backed off their original claim alleging a source said Bieber acted like a “douche” on set, and “hit on Lara several times.” It was claimed the Dutch model “had to stop him, basically calling him out on being just a child.”
The so-called source allegedly went on to claim, “Bieber specified he wanted to look taller and buff. Bigger bulge implied.”
Obviously, these supposed quotes are bogus or Breathe Heavy would stand by them. By way of apology, the site linked to a statement given to Us Weekly by Melisa Goldie, who is the Chief Marketing Officer for Calvin Klein.
Of Bieber’s behavior during the CK shoot, Goldie revealed, “Justin showed up early every day with amazing energy; he completely trusted us and gave it his all.”
“He came alive when it was time to perform, especially when the drum kit came out — it was really impressive.”
At the magazine’s site, Goldie added further details indicating Bieber worked amicably on set, concluding,
“We are incredibly proud of the final images and how they portray Justin and Lara. This campaign will definitely make history.”
It remains to be seen if Breathe Heavy’s saving face retraction will be considered sufficient action by Bieber’s team to prevent a defamation lawsuit.
An Associated Press interview with Lara Stone in which she revealed she enjoyed working with Bieber is linked in the video below.
[Images via Breathe Heavy /calvinklein.com]