Justin Bieber just can’t get a break. Caught up in troubles of his own making, Bieber recently was the butt of a practical joke played by an Atlanta radio station. As usual, the news media fell all over itself for anything Bieber related that tens of thousands of outlets ran with the story before anyone checked its accuracy.
A protest against Justin Bieber was just a hoax it was revealed today. Atlanta’s Rock 100.5 staged a good show in making it seem that the city’s residents didn’t want Bieber. The tony Buckhead suburb was up in arms when the rumor started that Bieber was thinking about buying a place in their neighborhood.
According to station host, Steve Rickman, the “protesters” were really just six interns for the show “The Regular Guys.” The interns dressed the part in clothes that would make them fit in. Being good “protesters” they carried signs that read, “She doesn’t want the ‘B,’” AND “NO Justin, no peace.”
The station sent word about the protests out through social media and it grew from there. Local affiliates didn’t get press releases or anything similar to the standard industry marketing handouts. The show was “floored by the response” according to Rickman. The protest grew to include outlets like CNN, BBC and TMZ. Calling the prank a “home run,” Rickman acknowledges that the idea spun totally out of control.
While the fake “protesters” were busy with their signs and demonstrations, Real Buckhead residents kept quiet about the possibility of having Bieber as a neighbor. Bieber has not been quiet or unaffected at the joke. Bieber sent a tweet expressing his frustration. “I guess I’m an easy target for some,” Bieber said on Twitter. “I will continue to meet hate with love.”
Many Media Outlets Fall for the Bieber Prank
The hoax has been the basis for over 45,000 news stories. Tim Andrews, a staple on “The Regular Guys” played the role of Harold White, a Buckhead resident. As Harold, Andrews conducted media interviews with BBC and CNN while pretending to be the “voice” of the protest.
Speaking with CNN, Andrews, in his “protester” persona said the neighborhood was worried that Bieber would bring the wrong kind of people into the residential area. Andrews went on to say that, considering Bieber’s means, he could find a neighborhood somewhere more suited to his lifestyle.
The protest, which was held in front of a mansion for sale, had been cooked up by the station’s marketing folks and Rickman called the prank a “big win.” Bieber’s representatives have not commented on the early April Fool’s joke.
Buckhead is the uptown and upscale neighborhood that makes up about a fifth of the city of Atlanta. Major commercial businesses and financial centers are located there making the neighborhood the third largest business district in the city.
Buckhead was founded in 1838 when Henry Irby bought 202 across for $650. Irby started the community with a general store and tavern where present day Peachtree and West Paces Ferry roads meet.
The name is derived from a legend that Irby killed a buck deer and placed its head in a prominent location. Before the deer slaying, the area was known as Irbyville. Buckhead became a rural vacation spot for the wealthy by the late 1800s. The neighborhood was the setting for the movie, “Driving Miss Daisy.”
If the teen pop-star changes his mind, the city might be renamed “Bieberville.”
By Jerry Nelson