News Column

Well, That's #lame; Bieber's Claim About Tacoma Theft a Stunt

Oct. 15, 2012

Stacia Glenn


The Bieber is to blame.

That's the consensus among Tacomans who took to social media Friday to express their outrage and disgust at being used in a cheeky publicity stunt to release the pop sensation's latest music video.

The hubbub started Wednesday with #no respect and an accusation of being #lame.

Justin Bieber's tweets blasted a thief he accused of stealing his camera and laptop containing personal images while he was singing his Canadian heart out Tuesday in a sold-out show at the Tacoma Dome.

Rumors flew on the blogosphere that there must be dirty photos of the 18-year-old singer. Skepticism about missing personal property soared when Dome officials said they'd reviewed security footage and saw no sign of a theft.

Then Thursday, an anonymous Twitter account posted links to what appeared to be short home videos of Bieber with friends and threatened to release more footage by noon Friday.

The big moment came.

Rabid fans and national media tuned in to see what footage might be forthcoming.

Depending on your stance on the Bieber, disappointment, disinterest and joy abounded.

The link was to a new Nicki Minaj-assisted Bieber video called "Beauty and a Beat." It took off online, immediately garnering thousands of viewers.

Tacoma had been had.

"A lot of people got played," Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said. "It became a big media frenzy, so I guess that was the idea."

He confirmed a police report had been filed online Wednesday night but said the only taxpayer money wasted had been Fulghum's own time, fielding phone calls from national media.

Tacoma memes posted a photo of Bieber on Facebook saying, "Plays a sold out show in Tacoma, takes everyone's money, lies about getting jacked for publicity."

It was an instant hit, generating more than 160 comments and 1,255 "likes."

Many locals had colorful names to lob at the teen heartthrob. Others were disappointed that Tacoma's image had been trampled on again.

"Love how he dragged my hometown's name through the mud to promote his stupid video. How pathetic can one guy get," Rachel Tilman wrote on the meme.

Leah Frazier had a similar take: "Like Tacoma doesn't already have a negative reputation which is actually false. He had to go and throw more mud on us... what a slap in the face!"

Even Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist joined in.

"The citizens of Pierce County can rest easy knowing if there was an actual theft, the Bieber thief would rue the day he committed a crime in Tacoma," he said tongue-in-cheek.

For Bieber's part, his publicist insisted the theft was real, and his manager said they have positive feelings about Tacoma.

"Regardless of anything, I don't think a city should be judged by one idiot's actions," Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, told The Seattle Weekly. "We had an incredible experience at that show in Tacoma. One of our dancers grew up in Tacoma. We've only heard good things and had a great experience there and in Seattle. And we plan on coming back there.

"One idiot's decision to steal a computer in our offices won't affect how we feel about that city."

Source: (c)2012 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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