Was The Justin Bieber Roast A Cynical Manipulation Of His Fans?

Justin Bieber has had his fair share of public relations disasters over the past few years. On Monday night the controversial teen idol subjected himself to a Comedy Central Roast. For those not in the know, The Guardian explains that the roast is an annual pleasure where a celebrity, Justin Bieber, gets their comeuppance at the hands of a bunch of other celebrities who get a couple of hours to verbally assault and ridicule the person in the hot seat.

Many would argue that Justin Bieber is the perfect candidate for a roast. Bieber is a divisive figure, adored by his fans, despised by those who think that Justin has been handed everything just a little too easily. It could be argued that subjecting Justin Bieber to a roasting should be all too easy. Bieber’s long list of indiscretions should give a never ending supply of comedy potential.

Whilst Bieber’s roast was aired on television, his fans went crazy on social media claiming that Justin was treated horribly badly. Not everyone saw it that way however. Slate claimed that Justin Bieber selected the roasters, was able to deem certain subjects off-limits and even had a say on which jokes were broadcast. In short, they claim that “these roasts are about promotion. They’re publicity stunts masquerading as punch lines, and no celebrity has come out of one looking worse in the public eye.”

The New York Daily News was even more critical of Bieber’s roast. They claimed that “Comedy Central spun out a smart, crisp three-minute Justin Bieber roast and then wrapped it in two hours of meandering dirty jokes that were mostly about everyone else who surrounded him on the stage.”

Variety Magazine claimed that Bieber’s roast just wasn’t very well done. They even claimed that Bieber “managed to read the jokes written for him passably.” Ouch!

At the conclusion of the roast, Justin Bieber made a seemingly heartfelt apology for his past behavior saying that “I am a kind-hearted person who loves people and through it all I lost some of my best qualities, for that I am sorry.” Justin also stated that he was turning over a new leaf and moving on from his past troubles, explaining that he was thrust into the limelight aged just 12-years-old.

The problem for Justin Bieber is that any attempt to improve his public image is doomed to failure. Those who adore Bieber will forgive him for anything. Those who despise Bieber are unlikely to be swayed by any attempt at humility or self-deprecation.

Justin Bieber’s fans will hope that he is turning his life around and that his Comedy Central Roast was an example of a more mature Bieber emerging and ready to return to the music scene over what they see as an unbearably long absence.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]