Even the courts can see that Justin Bieber is associating with bad company, as his friend and rapper Lil Za was found guilty of drug possession. At present Lil Za, 20, faces anywhere from 4 months to 4 years in jail. Bieber is no longer the boy next door, especially since he has been under investigation for causing $20,000 worth of damage to his neighbors mansion in Calabasas, CA.
Bieber has experienced a lot of attention in the past, but only lately has he been under real scrutiny. Scandals from vandalism to prostitution, and now drag-racing and drug use can be tacked to Bieber’s media record.
For now the courts see Bieber as an alleged criminal. If his lawyers fail, then the list of felony crimes attributed to him are impressive. Baby-faced and on a green card, Bieber’s actions have inspired a “We the People” petition. So far the petition to revoke Bieber’s green card has received over 100,000 signatures. However, Seth Rogen’s negative twitter response to Bieber’s arrest on January 23rd received over 197,000 positive responses (people who favored the tweet or retweeted it).
The saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” proves its merit in Bieber’s case. America’s adopted sweetheart does not seem affected by his or his friend’s arrest. At present, Bieber has not even issued a statement regarding the potential 4 years jail time that his friend Lil Za may face. The real dilemma lies in determining Bieber’s true innocence.
Bieber boasts a wide fan base of “Beliebers” from tweens to cougars. The issue with Bieber’s behavior is not only the level of harm it causes to himself, but the implications of his behavior as a role model.
Moreover, Bieber’s fans are extremely dedicated and fanatic. For example, in 2010 the home video of a 3-year-old fan crying about Bieber received over 29 million YouTube hits. The recent slew of alleged criminal activity in Bieber’s life threaten to poorly influence his large youth fan base. In the past, fanatics of other famous musicians have shown vulnerability to committing crime and self-harm.
Troubled Lost Prophet’s lead singer, Ian Watkins, used his fame to persuade fans to do drugs and commit crimes with him. Bieber is only playing in the minor leagues for criminal activity, but the goal should be for him to retire from the game on the whole.
All things aside, Bieber is still young. Police officers have described his home as similar to a frat house. This description is apt, as Bieber is in the frat age. According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, four out of 10 college aged males admitted to drinking 5 or more drinks in a row on an average drinking night. The college age is roughly 18-24, so Bieber falls right in there.
Just a few months from turning 20, Bieber is in an age where mistakes happen daily. Mistake is the hallmark of experience, after all. However there is a line to be crossed between ignorant mistake and unforgivable mistake. Bieber has yet to cross this line. Bieber is receiving a lot of heat for his tricky behavior, but he has still done a lot of charity work and provided child-friendly entertainment for the better part of his years.
Bieber should be given a chance to change, before he is found forever guilty as poor role model.
Editorial by Victoria Chuidian