According to a TODAY contributor, there was a time when booing Justin Bieber seemed unthinkable, but that’s just what happened at the Billboard Music Awards May 19 when the 19-year-old accepted the first-ever Milestone Award, given to honor the “ingenuity of this year’s hitmakers.”
Maybe the Biebs was razzed because the audience wanted a win for fellow nominees Taylor Swift or Bruno Mars. More likely it’s because as of late, continuous reports of “incidents” in Bieber-land have earned him -- rightfully or not -- an image as a spoiled, prima donna. How did he go from pop prince to royal troublemaker? Here’s the rundown.
The teen sensation got his start when his proud mom uploaded his videos to YouTube. Now he’s poised to rule the pop world.
Flipping off a photographer
Bieber was still thought of as the cute kid who was discovered on YouTube when he flashed his naughty finger to a photographer March 2, 2011. He later apologized, and in his defense, the crush of paparazzo purportedly had given his girlfriend Selena Gomez a swollen lip. Granted, Sean Penn and Frank Sinatra also had issues with photographers, but for them it didn’t seem as out of character.
Can’t drive 55
A few months later, Bieber was stopped by police for rocketing down California’s Ventura Freeway at over 100 mph. He received a ticket, but then somehow managed to get two of the four misdemeanor charges against him dropped. The incident was the fourth time he was pulled over within months. And when he isn't driving too fast, he's lending his car out to those who do.
The evil weed
When Snoop Dogg or any number of ’60s-era rockers get caught with marijuana, it’s almost expected. When the leading teen idol of the day does the same thing, it’s big news. In April, he almost got busted for possession in Sweden. If he’s trying to make over his teenybopper image with bad boy behavior, this is the way to do it.
Birthday night's all right for fighting
The craziness got ratcheted up a few more notches March 1, when Bieber and his entourage got into a nightclub mêlée during the star’s 19th birthday celebration at London’s Cirque du Soir. It might not have come off so bad had it not appeared he was trying to curry sympathy when he later sent out a Tweet about it being his “worst birthday.” Poor kid!
Arriving late for concerts
Note to performers: if you really want to piss off audiences, show up late for gigs. It “worked” for Sly Stone and Axl Rose, and Justin Bieber found out just how angry his fans could get when he showed up on stage at a March 4 show in England at around the time it was supposed to end. The British press told tales about weeping fans demanding refunds; Jon Bon Jovi called him a name we can’t reprint, but rhymes with “last soul.”
Attacking a photographer
Getting angry at a photographer in 2011 was just a prelude to him attempting to physically attack a photographer who snapped his mug outside a London hotel a few days afterwards. In the ensuing photos he looked more silly than threatening and his tweets (“Not gonna let them get the best of me again”) once again did more damage than damage control.
The Anne Frank incident
After Bieber visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam this April, he signed the guestbook by writing that he hoped the teenaged Holocaust victim “would have been a belieber.” Leaving aside the fact that had Frank survived she’d have been out of Bieber’s demographic, his message made it appear as if he sees both the world and world history as Bieber-centric.
The short version: Bieber didn’t have the paperwork to bring his pet monkey, Mally, into Germany, so the animal was quarantined. He then left the country and the monkey behind. Somewhere, Michael Jackson and Bubbles the Chimp are tsk-tsking.