Justin Bieber was tempted to accept a $5 million offer to perform at a GOP party during the Republican National Convention, but came to his senses when LeBron James told him not to do the gig and his manager threatened to dump him, according to a report by TMZ.
The celebrity news site says sources at megawatt Hollywood talent agency CAA told them Justin was offered the huge sum of cash to play for 45 minutes at a concert venue near Quicken Loans Arena, where Donald Trump officially accepted the Republican nomination for president last week.
Apparently, the promoter who reached out to Justin’s people claimed the shindig was “not political” and the superstar’s appearance would not mean he was endorsing Trump or staking claim to any Republican policies. To further ease any concerns Justin may have had about being associated with Republicans, TMZ says the promoter said LeBron James was also appearing at a GOP event the week of the convention. To add even more incentive to the deal, the massive $5 million payout — which would have been bankrolled by Republican donors — was to be forked over in advance of Justin’s appearance at the event.
TMZ says Justin, a Canadian who has been vague about his political leanings, almost took the money, but then the deal started to unravel.
At first, Bieber’s longtime manager, Scooter Braun — who Variety reports threw a huge Hillary Clinton fundraiser attended by Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Jessica Alba, and Tom Hanks last August — reportedly left the decision up to Justin. To make it more palatable, he suggested the 22-year-old singer put up Black Lives Matter banners at the show, which would have trolled Republican attendees the way the Washington Post says Third Eye Blind did at their performance at a GOP event. But the promoter said the wealthy Republican donors paying for the gig would only allow banners that read “All Lives Matter.” Worse, Justin couldn’t say anything anti-Trump or anti-Republican during his performance.
After learning the strict conditions of the Republican offer, TMZ reports Braun gave Justin an ultimatum.
“We’re told Scooter told Justin it was up to him if he wanted to do the show, but he said he couldn’t continue to represent the singer if he did, out of principle. Scooter felt the GOP was using Bieber as its tool.”
Things went further downhill when Bieber’s team reached out to LeBron James to find out if he was really appearing at a GOP event. LeBron’s management said the basketball superstar wouldn’t even be in Cleveland the week of the convention and advised Justin to stay far away from the Republican-infested city as well.
Meanwhile, Gawker notes that it is difficult to pinpoint Bieber’s political views given his “guarded” interview style. To prove their point, they dug up this Rolling Stone article where Justin, then just 17-years-old, tries to explain his views on Korea and abortion.
“He isn’t sure what political party he’d support if he was old enough to vote. ‘I’m not sure about the parties,’ Bieber says. ‘But whatever they have in Korea, that’s bad.’ He does have a solid opinion on abortion. ‘I really don’t believe in abortion,’ Bieber says. ‘It’s like killing a baby.’ How about in cases of rape? ‘Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.'”
Given Justin’s uncertain grasp of the politics at hand, it’s a good thing Braun and LeBron teamed up to steer him away from the Republican circus.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]