The ugly videos showing Justin Bieber saying racist things while he was still a baby-faced teen are apparently going to continue surfacing, though new reports allege TMZ has used the videos to blackmail Bieber into cooperation for years.
We have now seen two videos showing the Canadian pop-star making racist jokes, allegedly filmed around 2010, taken from footage shot for Bieber's Never Say Never tour documentary. More videos threaten to surface as we speak. Bieber, meanwhile, posted a forgiveness-themed Bible verse to his Instagram page.
Over the last four years, Bieber has fought to keep his youthful ignorance from surfacing. TMZ reported someone used used the videos to try and extort a $1 million payday from Bieber or his management. What TMZ failed to mention is that they, too, have allegedly profited from the videos and used the videos to exploit Bieber for their own gain. Gawker's Gabrielle Bluestone reports TMZ obtained the video years ago and blackmailed Bieber and his manager, Scooter Braun, into appearances on their live show and to give them scoops. Here, Bluestone found the alleged first appearance brokered after TMZ obtained the racist clips:
TMZ Live was until this point not a destination for a star of Bieber's caliber, until Bieber showed up. "Bieber, though not as big as he is now, was an incongruous guest for a show that tended to feature low-level reality stars," Bluestone writes. But this video kicked off a long and mutually abusive relationship between the two.
No one can debate that TMZ has profited off of Justin Bieber over the last few years. But that would have happened anyway, racist video blackmail or no. Look at the long list of shit Bieber caused as he grew from boy to boy-man right before our very eyes. He was destined for the gossip pages.
But from that point forward everything changed. Bieber was alllll over TMZ and TMZ was all over Justin Bieber, from now-routine pap videos like this:
To releasing videos of Bieber and his then-girlfriend, Selena Gomez, crashing a wedding and mingling with the guests, like the one below.
The video is nearly three minutes long and the lighting is, shall we say, suspicious. It's almost as if the arrangement was staged. Hmmm.
Bieber began to cooperate with TMZ any time one of his many scandals kicked off. They became the go-to source for direct Bieber quotes and leaks. When Bieber puked on stage, he explained on TMZ Live it happened because of what he ate for lunch, nothing nefarious. Just some ill-advised spaghetti:
Sometimes his appearances were totally innocuous. Bieber appeared once in 2012 to talk about why he thinks Bully, the celebrated documentary, did not deserve an R-rating, especially when compared to a movie like the Hunger Games. This was some nice PR work for Biebs that painted him in a positive light.
Like any relationship, a snag here and there would pit both sides against each other. Small arguments blossom into big arguments, and both sides say things they later regret behind the other's back. Like 2013's great spit-troversy:
Other times the two would playfully rib each other with pranks and jokes. Like the time last year Bieber and Braun teamed up to torment TMZ:
Either way, it seems the relationship is frayed now, perhaps never to return to what it once was. If these two are doomed — this perfect, flawed coupling — what hope do the rest of us have?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.