News broke Thursday that Justin Bieber is being sued by a paparazzo who claims the singer assaulted him. If you still call that type of thing news.
According to the AP, photographer Jose Osmin Hernandez Duran filed suit against Bieber on Wednesday, alleging the 19-year-old "jumped into the air from six to eight feet away to deliver a martial-arts-type kick" to his gut. Duran claims Bieber then punched him in the face — you know, for good measure. The AP reports that Duran's suit seeks unspecified damages for negligence and "severe and extreme emotional distress."
If the charges are true, this is clearly a despicable thing Bieber has done. I mean, we can't just karate chop strangers (don't we learn that in kindergarten?). But even so, upon hearing the alleged "news," my reaction was nothing short of pure, unadulterated apathy. So Bieber did another douchey thing. So what? I'm so over it.
In the lifecycle of a starlet, we go through various stages. 1) Intrigue 2) Adoration 3) Obsession 4) Annoyance 5) Oversaturation and 6) Disinterest. The sixth stage, however, is only reserved for those celebrities who are so troubled (as we like to call them) they can't go a day without doing something the media deems headline-worthy. And after making headlines for everything from arrests to probation violations to inappropriate tweets, the public generally gives up caring about said star. This happened with Lindsay Lohan, it happened with Amanda Bynes, and now I can officially say it has happened to Justin Bieber.
While a lawsuit against Justin Bieber may have once been breaking news — I'm sure you still remember the paternity scandal — his antics now are met with little more than an eye roll and a groan. In much the same way as I skim over announcements that Lindsay Lohan was moved to another rehab facility, I now breeze past tales of Bieber's douchebaggery (e.g. monkey abandonment, failure to pay your skydiving instructor). You can hardly call something that happens every other day "news."
Bieber's fans, however, remain steadfast. Steadfast to the point of crazy, as a video released by Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday reveals (above). In the video, Kimmel's team asks fans outside of a Justin Bieber concert what they think of fake antics they've attributed to the Biebs — such as using baby seal skin for his tires and punching his grandmother. According to these Beliebers, all if forgivable with Justin is the perp.
While the video is meant to be funny — and certainly succeeds in eliciting chuckles — it's also pretty upsetting. The video is an anecdote to everyone who dismisses Bieber's behavior with a casual, "He's just young and blowing off steam." That may be true, but his poor behavior is also leaving a lasting impression on his fans. Acts, like taking a handicapped parking spot and peeing on the American flag, that are unquestionably deplorable are suddenly not so bad when Justin is the one guilty of them.
With a legion of fans pledged to support Bieber blindly come what may — be it lawsuits or assault allegations – he needs to be especially cognizant of his behavior. Because, like it or not, he is a role model for these young fans. Bieber Fever is more intense than any fandom associated with Lindsay Lohan, and as such, these young people are less able to separate the star from the criminal (or just ill-advisable) act in Justin's case than they were in Lindsay's.
So, with the media becoming bored by Justin's antics while the fans remain unfazed — both, in their own ways, have become immune — what needs to happen to elicit a change in Bieber's behavior? Bieber needs to be held accountable for his actions. Plain and simple. It won't be until one of these lawsuits makes it to court that young, impressionable fans will be able to see that Justin is not the perfect specimen they believe him to be. Hopefully then they will learn to be a bit more discerning in their forgiveness; maybe then they'll be able to see the difference between right and wrong once again.
Or, maybe we have another Chris Brown situation on our hands. And that's a whole other can of worms.