- Over the weekend, two women accused singer Justin Bieber of sexual assault. The first, Danielle, said she was invited to Bieber’s hotel room at the Four Seasons in Austin after seeing him perform in 2014. She claimed he had sex with her after she told him to get off her and said things were going too far.
- The second, Kadi, said she was also invited to his hotel in 2015 when Bieber allegedly locked her in a room with him. She said she was able to kick him off of her and run away while the assault was taking place.
- Bieber has not specifically addressed Kadi’s claim, but posted several tweets about Danielle’s, which he says is false.
- He claims he was in Austin during that time, but did not stay at the Four Seasons, and allegedly confirmed this with a manager at the hotel. He also shared screenshots of receipts of hotel reservations booked at other locations.
First Allegation Against Bieber
Singer Justin Bieber defended himself against accusations of sexual assault, Sunday night, calling one account “factually impossible.”
“I don’t normally address things as I have dealt with random accusations my entire career but after talking with my wife and team I have decided to speak up on an issue tonight,” Bieber wrote on Twitter, starting a long series of posts.
Allegations against the 26-year-old pop star began Saturday when a Twitter user named Danielle said Bieber assaulted her on March 9, 2014. Danielle claimed that she and her friends were at an event in Austin where Bieber, who was accompanied by his then-girlfriend Selena Gomez, made a surprise performance. Danielle claimed that a man approached her and her friends, asking if they wanted to meet Bieber.
They said yes, took photos with Bieber, and chatted with him. After this, Danielle alleged that he and his friends invited them back to the Four Seasons hotel. She claimed that upon arriving, her friends were sent to one room, but she was brought to another with Bieber, who asked her to not say anything.
Danielle wrote that Bieber asked her to join him in bed and hegan to kiss her, even though she tried to change the conversation by asking about Gomez. According to Danielle, she had been drinking, and hoped this would be a clear sign that she was not willing to do much with the singer.
As things progressed, Danielle claims that Beieber began to undress her. When she told him things were going too far and she wanted to get back with her friends, Danielle alleges that Bieber responded by saying, “Relax. They’re all okay.”
“I was very uncomfortable and I felt myself starting to hyperventilate,” Danielle wrote in her post. “I told him to get off because I was starting to worry about my friends but it was too late. He forced himself inside me before I got the last few words out…My body felt unconscious.”
Second Claim Comes Out
Later that day, another girl named Kadi echoed her support for Danielle and claimed she had also been assaulted by Bieber. She said that after waiting in line for a meet and greet with Bieber, his bodyguard Mikey invited her up to Bieber’s hotel, where there was a small get together.
Kadi claims that when she was there, she started talking to Bieber, who kissed her and then followed her into the bathroom. Kady then said that he locked the door to the bathroom, which was attached to the bedroom. She alleged that the singer continued to kiss her and touch her, while she told him that she was waiting for marriage to have sex.
However, Kadi claimed that after this, he pushed her to the bed, removed some of her clothes and penetrated her. She said she kicked him off of her and ran away. Kadi wrote that she told her sister, who warned her against speaking out because her alleged sexual encounter could harm her or her family’s reputation.
She said she remained silent until 2017, when the MeToo movement encouraged her to speak out. She claimed she tweeted then deleted her story, but a reporter did contact her asking for more information, though nothing ever came of it. In addition to her story, she shared screenshots of messages she sent with Bieber’s bodyguard, the reporter, and another girl who was at the hotel named Arianna.
While Bieber has not specifically addressed the allegation from Kadi, he sent out numerous tweets denouncing Danielle’s story, which has since been deleted.
“Rumors are rumors but sexual abuse is something I don’t take lightly. I wanted to speak out right away but out of respect to so many victims who deal with these issues daily I wanted to make sure I gathered the facts before I made any statement,” Bieber said.
According to Bieber, he was in Austin on March 9, the day that Danielle claimed the incident happened. However, he said he was with Gomez and his friends, and showed photos of him elsewhere throughout the night.
He also said he did not stay at the Four Seasons, the hotel that Danielle claimed the incident happened at. While one tweet from March 10, 2014 does show someone claiming to see him at the hotel, Bieber was allegedly just at the restaurant, not an overnight guest.
Beiber maintains that he spent one night at an Airbnb with Gomez and friends and another at the Westin. He shared receipts and screenshots that appear to confirm reservations there. He also claimed that the Four Season regional manager stated that he was never at the hotel during this timeframe.
“Every claim of sexual abuse should be taken very seriously and this is why my response was needed,” Bieber later explained. “However this story is factually impossible and that is why I will be working with twitter and authorities to take legal action.”
He did face backlash for his response, however, as some thought his promise of legal action looked like threats against his accusers. Others did not think he should be bringing Gomez into the situation and making her his alibi.
Other Stars Accused of Sexual Assault
The accusation against Bieber came one day after a woman claimed that actor Ansel Elgort sexually assaulted her when she was 17. Elgort has denied this and said he did have a relationship with her, but it was consensual and legal. Danielle still claimed that seeing someone speak up about Elgort gave her the courage to speak out against Bieber.
Also over the weekend, Cole Sprouse and other members of the cast of CW’s “Riverdale” were accused of sexual assault and harassment. The tweets came from resembling accounts, all of which had a woman’s first name followed by a long series of numbers as the handle.
The accusations against Sprouse are still online, however, tweets with allegations against stars like Lili Reinhart, KJ Apa, and Vanessa Morgan have been deleted. In one case, the user who tweeted a sexual harassment claim against Reinhart later tweeted that the claims about Apa and Morgan were fake.
“Do you see how easy it is to lie and you guys will believe it?” that user wrote, with many claiming it was an effort to prove Sprouse’s innocence.
The allegations still became a trending topic on Twitter, with some thinking they were all fake, but others still feeling inclined to believe them. Both Sprouse and Reinhart have made threads denouncing the claims.
“False accusations do tremendous damage to victims of actual assault. Furthermore, I would never seek to silence anybody,” Sprouse wrote. “I encourage that people look into the accusations themselves, as the events detailed were factually untrue.”
“I have always taken sexual assault allegations seriously. But it was proven that this account was created specifically to create false stories about me and my cast,” Reinhart added. “I can’t think of something more twisted than lying about sexual assault.”
Reinhart also claimed that the cast is looking into legal action.
See what others are saying: (Pitchfork) (Entertainment Weekly) (The Guardian)
Britney Spears Asks For Privacy After Fans Called Cops to Conduct a Wellness Check on Her
Fans said they were concerned after the singer deleted her Instagram account.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was updated to include a statement from Britney Spears
Fans Call 911
Britney Spears said her fans “went a little too far” after some called the police to conduct a wellness check on her.
The fans, many fueled by online conspiracy theories, were concerned about Spears because she deleted her Instagram account. While this is something the singer has done multiple times in the past, her fans thought she had left secret signals in her last post suggesting she needed help.
Some even posted videos of them calling emergency services on TikTok, a platform that is full of conspiracy videos about Spears.
“I love and adore my fans but this time things went a little too far and my privacy was invaded,” Spears wrote in a statement on Thursday, citing “prank phone calls” that were made to police.
According to Spears, officers did not enter her home because once they got to her gate, they “quickly realized there was no issue and left immediately.”
“This felt like I was being gaslit and bullied once the incident made it to the news and being portrayed once again in a poor and unfair light by the media,” Spears continued. “During this time in my life, I truly hope the public and my fans who I care so much about can respect my privacy moving forward.”
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Ventura County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to Page Six that the department “did get calls into our dispatch” but added there was no reason to believe that Spears was “in any kind of harm or any kind of danger.”
That spokesperson declined to say if officials contacted Spears or conducted a wellness check, citing privacy and public trust issues.
The Prominence of Britney Spears Conspiracies
Just over a year has passed since Spears was freed from a highly restrictive conservatorship that controlled her life and finances for 13 years. Throughout the conservatorship, fans tried to use the pop icon’s social media to pick up clues that she was secretly struggling. She did not publicly speak about the conservatorship until the summer of 2021.
Now that she has her freedom, fans are still reading heavily into her posts. Some believe there are hidden messages in her captions and in the gestures she does while dancing. Others think she is dead, missing, or hiding and that a body double is being used in her posts. Some are so concerned that they are coordinating a mass effort to pressure the Los Angeles Times into investigating Spears’ whereabouts and safety.
In the last several years, many have reflected on Spears’ early days in the spotlight and the cruel ways she was harassed and targeted by paparazzi, news outlets, and culture at large. Often the punchline to a joke throughout the 2000s, many now sympathize with Spears, who was forced to endure heavy public scrutiny at a young age. Documentaries like “Framing Britney Spears” prompted many to see Spears as a victim of abusive media tactics, not the “crazy” woman tabloids painted her to be.
Many are now concerned that fans are only going to subject Spears to a new onslaught of harassment by calling the police to her house. Even if the conspiracy theories are technically well-intentioned and often come from a place of concern, some believe they will jumpstart a media frenzy that could harm Spears’ mental well-being.
Razzies Apologize For Nominating 12-Year-Old, Adopt Age Rules For Future Nominations
The group’s founder said the Razzies regret “any hurt” the young actress may have “experienced as a result of our choices.”
Razzies Face Backlash
The Razzie Awards revoked its “insensitive” nomination of 12-year-old Ryan Kiera Armstrong and added new guidelines banning child performers from being nominated in the future.
The Razzies, which award the year’s worst movies, included Armstrong in its “Worst Actress” lineup for her role in “Firestarter.” Bryce Dallas Howard, Diane Keaton, Kaya Scodelario, and Alicia Silverstone were also nominated in the category.
Armstrong starred alongside Zac Efron in “Firestarter,” an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. The picture received a 10% rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
While the film was broadly panned, many thought it was a bridge too far to nominate a child for a bad acting award.
“The Razzies are already mean-spirited & classless, but to nominate a kid is just repulsive & wrong,” child star Julian Hilliard, best known for his work in “WandaVision,” tweeted. “Why put a kid at risk of increased bullying or worse? Be better.”
Actor and podcast host Brandon Hardesty said the nomination was “completely ignorant and cynical.”
“They have no clue what this can do to a child actress who probably considered her starring role in FIRESTARTER as a high point in her life,” he wrote.
“That girl was the best part of that mess of a movie,” film critic Shannon McGrew tweeted. “And on top of that, no kid should ever be nominated for an award that punches down on them.”
Razzies founder John Wilson addressed the backlash in a statement to the press on Wednesday, calling the criticism “valid.”
“Sometimes, you do things without thinking, Then you are called out for it. Then you get it,” Wilson said. “It’s why the Razzies were created in the first place.”
“We have removed Armstrong’s name from the Final Ballot that our members will cast next month,” he continued. “We also believe a public apology is owed Ms. Armstrong, and wish to say we regret any hurt she experienced as a result of our choices.”
In addition to removing Armstrong’s nomination, The Razzies is now adopting “a Voting Guideline precluding any performer or film-maker under 18 years of age from being considered” for awards.
“Since our motto is ‘Own Your Bad,’ we realize that we ourselves must also live up to it,” the statement closed.
While Armstrong will be the last child to nab a Razzie nomination, she was far from the first. Jake Lloyd made the list for his turn as young Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” Gary Coleman and Macaulay Culkin also got nominations as teenagers.
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (The Hollywood Reporter) (People)
SeatGeek CEO Calls to Break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation in Senate Hearing Following Taylor Swift Debacle
“A lack of robust competition in our industry meaningfully stunts innovation, and consumers are who suffer,” Jack Groetzinger said.
Two months after technical difficulties blocked countless Taylor Swift fans from snagging seats to her tour, a bipartisan group of Senators held a hearing to re-examine the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster.
The two entertainment giants merged in 2010. Jack Groetzinger, the CEO of the rival ticket-selling platform SeatGeek, said during Tuesday’s hearing that the two need to be broken up to benefit consumers.
“One, a lack of robust competition in our industry meaningfully stunts innovation, and consumers are who suffer,” he said. “Two, venues fear losing Live Nation concerts if they don’t use Ticketmaster, and three, the only way to restore competition in this industry is to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) echoed concerns about the lack of competition, arguing that Live Nation is the “definition of monopoly.”
“Live Nation is so powerful that it doesn’t even need to exert pressure, it doesn’t need to threaten, because people just fall in line,” she said.
The Eras Tour Debacle
Ticketmaster has long been accused of price-gouging and complicating the ticket-buying process. Those issues made international headlines in November during the presale for Swift’s highly anticipated Era’s Tour.
Millions of fans who attempted to enter Ticketmaster’s virtual queue walked away empty-handed after experiencing crashes, price inflation, and a myriad of other issues.
According to Ticketmaster, the incredibly high demand, coupled with an onslaught of bot attacks, forced the platform to slow sales down. After the company delayed sales in certain cities and canceled the general sale altogether, Swift called the ordeal “excruciating.”
“We asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could,” she wrote on Instagram in November.
The controversy prompted many to accuse Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation, of holding a monopoly over the concert and live events industry. The U.S. Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into the entertainment giant.
Ticketmaster Takes Heat
Ticketmaster has repeatedly tried to blame a number of factors for the failed Swift presale, even at one point suggesting the sale was too popular because the “Anti-Hero” singer waited so long to tour.
“May I suggest, respectfully, that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m the problem, it’s me,’” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said during the hearing.
Still, the company continued to point the finger at record-breaking bot attacks.
“We knew bots would attack at onsale and planned accordingly. We were then hit with three times the amount of bot traffic that we’d ever experienced,” Live Nation CFO Joe Berchtold said on Capitol Hill.
“The attack requires [us] to slow down and even pause our sales. This is what led to a terrible consumer experience we deeply regret. We apologize to the fans, we apologize to Miss Swift, we need to do better and we will do better,” he continued.
Others present at the hearing were not happy with Live Nation’s bot defense. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said that she has worked with companies in a variety of industries that deal with bots without these issues.
“You know what, they get bot attacks every single day by the thousands. By the thousands,” she said. “And they have figured it out, but you guys haven’t? This is unbelievable.”
“You can’t blame bots for what happened to Taylor Swift,” JAM Productions CEO Jerry Mickelson added. “There’s more to that story that you’re not hearing.”
According to Mickelson, Ticketmaster can actually stand to benefit from glitchy sales on its platform.
“The process, when it’s slowed down, increases the money that Ticketmaster makes because they make money on fees and as the ticket prices go up due to dynamically priced tickets, Ticketmaster makes more off that,” he claimed. “So it’s to their advantage to slow the process down.”
Outrage against Ticketmaster has become so widespread that Sen. Blumenthal said the company was responsible for “an absolutely stunning achievement.”
“You have brought together Republicans and Democrats in an absolutely unified cause.”