Justin Bieber’s equal parts shocking, entertaining and concerning Believe world tour marches headlong into its latest incident.
Swedish police have confirmed that a small amount of drugs and a stun gun were found on the singer’s tour bus during a search in Stockholm on Wednesday.
Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Stockholm police spokesman Lars Bystrom declined to identify the drug but said it had been sent to a lab for analysis. He also said no-one had been arrested because the tour bus was empty at the time of the search.
Police took the decision to search the bus after smelling what they suspected to be marijuana coming from inside the bus while it was parked outside Bieber’s Stockholm hotel. A drug squad performed the search outside the Globen Arena while the singer performed onstage.
Bieber’s Twitter response: “Some of the [rumors] about me… where do people even get this stuff. whatever… back to the music,” followed a note to his 38 million plus followers that he had arrived in Finland.
For the past few days, there seemed to be a lull in the drama that has beset the Believe tour, coinciding with the arrival of Selena Gomez in Oslo on April 18 as Bieber performed the last of three dates in Norway.
The Spring Breakers actress was later seen in an Instagram with Bieber that he posted on Saturday then deleted, fueling speculation that the pair have reunited.
But with 28 concerts still left to go in the 125-date tour, red flags about Bieber’s behavior have given way to billboard sized questions asking what is going on with the “Baby” singer, who is no longer a baby?
Previous tour lowlights include the quarantining of the singer’s pet monkey by Munich customs officials last month. Reportedly, the teen has now decided to let the monkey be re-homed in Germany pending transfer of ownership.
Other incidents range from the social media firestorm that erupted — arguably needlessly — over a guestbook entry Bieber wrote at Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House after an April 12 visit; a run-in with a paparazzo in March; a late showing at London’s 02 Arena; fainting; nightclub rows and an allegation that he spat at and threatened his neighbor during an argument at his Calabasas home last month.
In between those in bold moments, Bieber’s persistent shirtlessness, gas mask wearing, social media venting, ab-exhibitionism avec Instagrams, and largely TMZ-Radar Online driven tales of alleged debauchery in the singer’s California mansion, have gifted an embarrassment of riches to entertainment writers and journalists around the world.
So where will it end? An intervention, a quick adjustment to maturity that will recall these past few months as just a hiccup in Bieber’s history, or somewhere much darker?
Most, if not all, of Bieber’s escapades are simply the indiscretions of youth. But, due to his intense fame they are distorted into catastrophes. The last two years look increasingly like the timeline of someone struggling to cope with the shift from child to adult star, life under the media’s white hot gaze, latterly his tour and whatever other unknowables may also be in play.
For his part, Bieber previously said in one of his many social media missives in March:
“I’m a good person with a big heart. And don’t think I deserve all this negative press… All this isn’t easy. I get angry sometimes. I’m human. I’m gonna make mistakes. [I’m] gonna grow and get better from them…”
Although it was a brutally honest statement of where he was at, unfortunately Bieber undermined its effect with an ill-thought last sentence about Lindsay Lohan which he then deleted — but not in time.
Some observers are sympathetic to the teen star’s growing pains, others not so much. But the Canadian has received support from a line-up of celebrities who empathize with Bieber’s evident discomfort.
These include; Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, will.i.am, Matthew McConaughey, One Directions Liam Tomlinson, Liam Gallagher, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Joan Rivers, Miley Cyrus, Jessie J., Michael Buble and Mark and Donnie Wahlberg.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Donnie, former member of New Kids on the Block, said:
“Justin Bieber’s making mistakes that everyone makes and he’s probably trying things and exploring things that most kids his age explore, but the problem is he’s got 50 paparazzi chasing him when he does it.”
It’s a well observed point that echoes much of my Bieber coverage on not only the paparazzi component of his life, but the media reporting attending it.
USA Today’s Maria Peunte noted the same, writing: “The coverage of Bieber’s recent antics begins to look a little as if the media… are piling on.”
The outlet quotes Robyn Silverman — author, teen development specialist and public speaker — who says Bieber is simply going though the normal process of “identity development.”
“Most teens work through this in private but because he’s a mega superstar, we’re all watching it take place in tight, glass box. It looks to me like he wants to break out of it in some way.”
A publicist’s dream for years, Bieber now chafes because the yoke of a sanitized heartthrob no longer fits. So, it seems the glass box needs to break. Question is whether Bieber will be allowed to do it at his own pace, or will it come from the sizable stones being hurled in his direction in the shape of traffic-hungry gossip media, paparazzi and the projections of his own fans?
Certainly, Bieber is responsible for the choices he makes and who and what he has chosen to surround himself with. But that process is undeniably hindered by irresponsible reporting and the kind of targeting some outlets have gone in for. Radar Online’s“disgraceful” Elizabeth Arden photo shoot ‘story’ a case in point.
Where it will end is still moot, still unwritten. But, if we aren’t to find ourselves sitting in front of screens typing that article surely no-one wants to write, we should have a care about what we put out into the slipstream. For Bieber’s sake and for all the ‘public’ children and teenagers to come.