Bieber’s Misdemeanors: A Result of Lovestruck Beliebers


Justin Bieber has been building up a bad boy image for the past year, culminating in his recent arrest.

Karalyn Kickham

Justin Bieber has been building up a bad boy image for the past year, culminating in his recent arrest.
Justin Bieber has been building up a bad boy image for the past year, culminating in his recent arrest.

Flash back to the summer of 2009, when preteen and teen girls everywhere first heard about a cute boy on YouTube with the look and the voice that would soon make them fall in love with the newest teen pop sensation.  Justin Bieber’s music video for his first single “One Time” had just been released, and Bieber was thrown under the spotlight almost overnight. The hair flip, the wink, the zip-up purple hoodies—this innocent fifteen year old really knew how to win over most girls his age, and his meteoric rise in popularity was only just beginning.

Almost unrecognizable in appearance, voice, and actions, Justin Bieber as the world knows him today has clearly grown out of his cute stage—not only concerning the style of his music, but also by how he is perceived by the public eye.

With the media watching and critiquing Bieber’s every move this past year, a different, not-so-flattering side of the heartthrob was brought to the public’s attention.  Questionable actions throughout the year—including one recent run-in with the law—lead to Bieber’s arrest this January. Bieber was arrested on January 23, 2014 for DUI, drag racing, resisting arrest, and driving with an expired license.

After months of Bieber chaos leading up to his January arrest, the question arose: Who is to blame? Although most reasonably argue that Bieber is responsible for his own actions—his fall from grace is no one’s fault but his own—there have been claims that Bieber’s fans are to blame; although this idea seems far-fetched, it provokes much thought.  Millions of fans post on social media daily about their undying love for Justin Bieber and put the bad boy star on a pedestal.  Granted that part of the behavioral change in Bieber came with age, most teenagers do not act out to the extent that Bieber has since he has gained world-wide fame.  Even with a criminal record, millions of “Beliebers” on the Internet still swoon over and praise the heartthrob, swearing to never stop loving him.  With over 49.4 million followers on Twitter and almost 14 million on Instagram professing their love and admiration for Justin daily, it is understandable that the power could get to his head, but could an overly supportive fan base on social media really influence a celebrity’s actions?

Although Bieber’s actions causing his arrest are sad, they are not necessarily unexpected.  In the past year, Bieber’s reputation has gone down the drain due to physical and verbal altercations, illegal activity, and blatant disrespect. Some on social media have called Justin’s outbursts one-time occurrences caused by the stress associated with fame, while others predicted that Bieber’s negative behavior would continue.  Some of the more shocking controversial situations Bieber has gotten himself involved in in the past year were leaving an inappropriate comment in the Anne Frank House guest book, and urinating into a bucket while yelling “F*** Bill Clinton” as he passed a picture of Clinton on the wall.  Although Bieber later apologized for the video, this disrespect was the last straw for many.  On Christmas Eve—the night before the release of his new movie “Believe”—brought Bieber’s most shocking stunt of the year; Bieber sent out a tweet that said, “My beloved beliebers I’m officially retiring.”  The worst Christmas gift ever to some and a Christmas miracle to others, the tweet shocked almost everyone, as not many could imagine why Bieber would retire at the age of 19.  The tweet turned out to be a joke, but it certainly caused more than enough drama.  The drama would ensue, however, as the new year brought a new Bieber, completing his transformation to the bad boy image.  Justin egged his neighbors’ house on January 14, causing thousands of dollars in damage.  On January 23, Bieber was pulled over by a cop in Miami Beach and arrested for drag racing, DUI, driving with an expired license, and resisting arrest.  As if this did not cause enough turmoil in the world of social media, Bieber’s mugshot—in which he is smiling at the camera—brought a storm of criticisms and complaints on his character to the surface.

Because nothing says “I’ve learned my lesson” like taking a mugshot with a smile.

It is difficult to comprehend why so many can condone such outrageous and just downright wrong behavior from someone who is supposed to be a role model for his millions of fans.  After all Bieber has brought upon himself recently, it is astounding that he still has so many loyal followers. Although a large portion of Beliebers have lost respect for their old hero and have outgrown their days of life size posters, homemade concert t-shirts, and photoshopped images with their face next to Bieber’s, an alarming amount of praise has been expressed towards Bieber on social media, especially Twitter.  Countless fans have defended Bieber on Twitter, saying that at only 19 years old, Bieber is expected to make mistakes and he should be given another chance.  Chance after chance, Bieber has found himself in more trouble, but the support has not stopped; the same defensive tweets are sent out day after day.  By quickly dismissing the celebrity’s poor decision making, fans are expressing that no matter what Bieber does, they will always love him.  And there lies a possible source of Bieber’s supposed invincibility: loyal fans will continue to buy Justin’s music, go to his concerts, and stick up for him on social media despite the drunk driving, the physical assaults, and whatever else is to come in the future.

Justin Bieber has talent, and it would be a shame for him to throw all of that away at the young age of 19, but the undying support of most of his fans—who glorify Bieber’s illegal actions with endless love on social media—has to be limited.  So many Beliebers praising such behavior is disconcerting; rewarding Bieber with love and support after he has just been arrested is not the way to make him change his ways.  Just days after Bieber’s arrest, fans were already back to commenting marriage proposals in the comments of Bieber’s Instagram pictures and tweeting about their dreams to meet him.  If Justin knows that his fans will love him no matter what, then the consequences for poor behavior may seem trivial to him.  Although Bieber’s actions are ultimately his own fault, the 60 mentions per second that Justin receives on Twitter may boost his ego just enough to make the star feel invincible.  Bieber needs to take a step back, stay out of the spotlight, get some help, and fly under the radar for a while.  And if Bieber continues to find himself in trouble with the law, maybe people should use the power of social media to do some good, and convince Justin that maybe the retirement idea wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.