Justin Bieber's legal team is making it clear that nude pics taken of the singer while he was on vacation in Bora Bora were snapped without his knowledge or consent, and they want media outlets to take them down.
The 21-year-old singer's legal eagles sent a cease and desist letter to the original publishers, the New York Daily News, demanding the immediate removal of the photos from the paper's website within 12 hours. The letter was sent shortly after the paper rolled out the (barely) censored naked pictures on Wednesday afternoon.
As of 48 hours later, the censored photos are still up the Daily News' site, along with a video montage of stills.
The various pics show Bieber naked or in a towelling robe on the deck of the bungalow he stayed at with British model and make-up blogger Jayde Pierce, 20, at the private Bora Bora resort. The pair were first spotted together in May in Los Angeles, although Pierce is based in London.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, which has seen the letter, Bieber's legal camp confirmed that the pics are of Bieber and are not touched up. The letter also states that their publication represents a violation of the singer's publicity (trademark) and privacy rights.
The letter, sent by the singer's representatives at the Myman Greenspan law firm, reads, "We recently became informed that your company has obtained and is distributing unauthorized photographs of our Client including images showing him without clothing,"
Although the pictures were first published by the Daily News on Wednesday, they were taken on Tuesday, October 6. FameFlynet.co.uk, the photo agency responsible for getting the shots, has denied it breached Bieber's privacy rights, but the company has also refused to comment on whether the paparazzi involved used long-lens equipment.
However, the grainy low-resolution of the photos has the look of pictures produced by telephoto lens -- a specific type of a long-focus lens --- which paparazzo use when they're filming targets from a distance. Although the Daily News published censored shots, the originals showing Bieber naked quickly hit Twitter and went viral within an hour of the original post.
Once the nude Bieber pics entered the public domain, different reactions were seen on the Internet.
Many Twitter users made appreciative comments about Bieber's penis. Moving to the concept of snaps themselves, some found it all hilariously funny, some were shocked, others were repulsed. Many posts tagged the line "#WhatDoYouPeen," nodding to the heartthrob's current worldwide smash "What Do You Mean?"
Justin Bieber's mentions right now pic.twitter.com/TYfnsEZ8Qi
— First We Feast (@firstwefeast) October 7, 2015
OH. MY. GOD. I have just seen Justin Bieber completely naked and it was incredible. Thank you Jesus. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah
— Megan Phillips (@meg_phillips94) October 7, 2015
where were u when bieber nude pics leakedMemes popped up, putting a mix of clothes, fruit, and strange objects on the singer. Others compared Bieber favorably to old pictures of a nude Brad Pitt and Zac Efron. All of which is standard behavior when buzzy visuals hit the web. But it doesn't change the fact that Bieber and Pierce didn't know or consent to their pictures being taken and used for commercial exploitation by a third party.
— steven j. horowitz (@speriod) October 7, 2015
Clearly, when a celebrity visits somewhere like Bora Bora, they go there to get away from cameras and have a reasonable expectation of privacy that long-lens wielding paparazzi aren't lurking in the bushes.
E! News, which lost its conscience in its Bieber-reporting some time ago, recently made ridiculous points in an opinion piece, seemingly blaming Bieber and ignoring the fact that he is the victim of a nude photo grab. The singer's legal team demand for the removal of the pics reinforces that.
E!'s Natalie Finn sees a difference between the hacking of nude pictures from the clouds and phones of stars such as Jennifer Lawerence, Christina Aguilera, and more in 2014, because the hacker had to enter their cyber accounts. But the umbrage which greeted paparazzi-obtained topless pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, sunbathing in France with husband, Prince William, back in 2012, should be no less for Bieber, who was on private land on a tropical island and clearly didn't see anyone around but Pierce when he took his clothes off.
Same when iCloud was hacked and naked pics leaked of JLaw. Celebs deserve privacy and that includes Bieber.
— lore-ren incarnate (@laureningram) October 7, 2015
umm can we talk about how totes illegal creepy and generally not morally ok those photos of bieber are
— robbie (@heartofpixels) October 8, 2015
I guarantee if Taylor Swift was photographed fully nude instead of Justin Bieber the headlines wouldn't be reading "JB NUDE ON INTERNET"
— Chris Amplo (@chris_amplo) October 8, 2015
ok no offense but those naked pics of justin bieber are a disgusting invasion of privacyFinn went on to say that each of "the ladies mentioned above live fiercely more private lives than Bieber does" (was Xtina's "Dirrty" era a figment of our imagination?), then adds that he "more times than not he willingly has let the outside in," which is meant to imply that Bieber doesn't deserve privacy.
— me, but as a ghost (@LegendOfSpook) October 7, 2015
In fact, in public, Bieber often tries to go incognito to the extent that a superstar of his wattage can. Finn also claims Bieber "doesn't seem to mind attention." Couldn't that be said of all stars, to some extent?
Isn't it really all about what's appropriate for a time and a place? On stage, all stars want your attention. Looking at Bieber's holiday pictures, where he is seen on a private resort with no-one but Pierce, going about activities including swimming, eating, and playing his guitar," it's clear this was a low-key private vacation not intended to generate the attention of millions of strangers.
Elaborating, Finn went on to write, "One, he's seen his penis before, so no big deal there. Two, if he didn't learn that everyone wants a piece of him after a Brazilian girl filmed him sleeping and slapped that video online, it's highly likely that he just doesn't care." Finn continued, "He's been willingly on video smoking, drinking and engaging in other normal yet bad-boy-'cause-he's-a-celebrity behavior. How many down-to-the-pubic-bone shirtless pics had we already seen of him?"
Particularly ignorant in her list of assumptions, is Finn's view that because Bieber is familiar with his own penis that he should be happy if the world also gets that right, even without his permission. Taking that nonsense logic to the end degree, no star should have a right of redress about their anatomy being put on show, since surely everyone is familiar with their own bodies.
Regardless of what an opinion writer may think, the non-famous and the famous have at least a moral right not to have intimate, exposing pictures taken of them without their consent and used for profit, or not. Bieber didn't do anything wrong by removing his clothes in private. If E! talked about a female star in the same way they did about Bieber in that opinion piece they'd (rightly) tarred and feathered.
MTV News, The Daily Beast, and other outlets, have a markedly more thought out take on Bieber's naked pictures than E! News and rightly noted the double standard. Where are all the feminist think pieces and online outrage about privacy breaches, gender rights and the like that we saw after "The Fappening"? There are a few out there but not as many as there should be.
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) October 10, 2015
Is it because it's Justin Bieber? Is this because we don't think male nudity carries as much vulnerability-association as females'? MTV starkly asks "Why aren't we as angry about the Justin Bieber nude photo leak?" before asking why Bieber's decision to strip off for a swim on vacation was turned into a peep-show for the world without his consent?
Quite apart from the fact that it's not cool to exploit people, being famous doesn't -- or, at the very least, shouldn't -- negate a person's right to privacy. An individual's intimate bits are theirs to decide what they do with.
Bottom line? Legal experts may think being famous makes people fair game, but if you think it's wrong to look at leaked naked photos of Selena Gomez, Emma Watson, or Jennifer Lawrence, it's just as wrong to get your jollies gawping at the naked pictures of Justin Bieber, Nicholas Hoult, or Jared Leto.
If it were a woman who had naked photos taken of her, people would go insane. Doesn't Justin Bieber deserve the same right to privacy?
— Skye Littlejohn (@SkyeLittlejohn) October 8, 2015
Just because Justin is Justin Bieber, doesn't it give you the right to take pictures of him naked at HIS place. It's called privacy.
— ⠀⠀ (@drewsspotlight) October 8, 2015
my hearts hurting... leave him alone... please... #RespectJustinsPrivacy pic.twitter.com/Aj4k55vdqF
— Justin Bieber (@drewslyricss) October 7, 2015
surely taking naked photos of justin bieber without his permission then blasting them on the internet is very illegal
— ellie (@elliedvs) October 7, 2015
Pretty sure nude photos of Bieber is as bad as any of the fappening posts and everyone should be equally outraged/respectful in this case
— Simone (@simone_au) October 8, 2015
Privacy. It should be respected
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) October 8, 2015
JB did say to me he wanted to bring back Jerry.And well... Jerry is back. But what a gross invasion of privacy. Mind you - he got no worries
— Smallzy (@Smallzy) October 8, 2015
No one is ever disgusted by the pig who preys on, photographs and sells pictures of someone naked. Just the celebrity for being naked. Ok.[Images via Getty/ RTL]
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 8, 2015