The Irish public is defending Justin Bieber’s right to refuse to take photos with strangers, be they fans or not.
Questions on whether a celebrity has basic human rights of freedom (to walk freely in public spaces without being harassed and followed by others, for instance), and of privacy (not to be filmed without permission) are always hot topics.
For Bieber, the above scenarios unfolded when a random Dubliner, Keith Casey, spotted the superstar leaving a tanning salon on the city’s Grafton Street on Monday evening and proceeded to follow and film the Biebs without his consent while repeatedly demanding a pic.
As seen on the video Casey subsequently posted online, Bieber’s two bodyguards politely asked the local man to stop filming and following the singer four times in total. All these requests were ignored.
After following the Canadian star around Grafton Street, the Irishman asked for a photo for a fourth time.
At that point, Casey either lied or got confused, and said he was going to the singer’s Purpose World Tour show that same evening. However, Justin didn’t perform on Monday. His schedule includes concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday at Dublin’s 3Arena.
Watch video footage of the pair’s encounter below.
“Can I just get one photo? I’m going to your show tonight,” Casey is heard asking Bieber, while a bodyguard in the background requests that he put his phone down.
A visibly harassed-looking Bieber replied, “I don’t have a show tonight.”
Casey then said, “Tomorrow?” as if this was news to him. He later shared his now viral video on Facebook with a caption that demeaned Bieber. He also claimed he was a big fan of the singer.
“Just got put in my place by JUSTIN BIEBER!!!!” he wrote, adding smiling emojis and hashtags that also ensured it was noticed online. “#Sunbed #NeverMeetYourIdol #Twat #PurposeTourDublin #JustinBieber #GraftonStreet #Dublin #Ireland.”
Casey subsequently sold his story to the Irish Independent. But even though the video revealed the Dubliner to be engaged in persistent, stalker-like behavior, Keith alleged he was left “in shock” by Bieber’s “aggressive attitude.”
“He used aggressive body language and said ‘dude stop recording me,'” the 27-year-old told the newspaper. He also claimed he only got the Purpose Tour concert date muddled because of nerves and excitement.
“I obviously was so excited and nervous to actually come face to face with him [Bieber] that I got confused but his attitude was terrible,” Casey told the Independent, adding he would now be giving away his alleged show ticket. He went on to snark that since no-one was “mobbing” Bieber on Grafton street, he should have taken a pic with him.
A slew of outlets reported this non-story, while calling Bieber a “brat” in their headlines, or taking their cues from Casey and painting him as a “victim” of an “aggressive” prima donna, when the video showed the opposite.
Inevitably, the Daily Mail and other outlets reported the story as if Bieber hasn’t previously publicly explained why he doesn’t take photos. Instead, they reframed Casey as a “devoted fan,” rather than someone who aggressively pursued Bieber for a trophy snap. These reports didn’t view Casey’s following of Bieber as harassment. They also did not include a verified Facebook screenshot showing Casey telling an online user that he wasn’t really a Bieber fan, or his clap backs at critics which saw him use the term “Beliebers” as a put-down.