The Shady Side Of Justin Bieber

This feature contains references to domestic abuse, drug and alcohol use, racism, sexual assault, and body shaming.

Ever since his cherubic face first landed on our YouTube screens, Justin Bieber has been a staple of both Spotify playlists and tabloid scrutiny. The Canadian youngster melted the hearts of tweens the world over in the late 2000s, drawing in Beatles-esque hordes of screaming devotees. But to paraphrase the popster, he's gone through changes. Once a fresh-faced viral sensation, Bieber has transformed from pouty to posturing for the better part of a decade. Who would have thought that the wholesome pretty boy would end up a bona fide bad boy?

Well, if Hollywood folklore is to be believed, it's something of an inevitability that child stardom leads to celebs going off the rails in adulthood. Like many of his contemporaries, the singer couldn't quite defy the child star curse and ended up following a familiar path of sex, drugs, and rock n roll — or in this case, radio-friendly R&B-infused pop. Accordingly, Bieber courted controversy from almost the exact moment he made that difficult transition into a grown-up performer. Although he has since attempted to publicly make amends for his past transgressions, those affected by his shady side haven't been so quick to forget about those sus antics.

From abandoning his pet monkey to defacing a photo of Bill Clinton — and everything in between — the "Peaches" performer has done a lot to make us question his intentions. Don't stop believing in J-Beeb's ability to dish out the disses, because this is Bieber's shady side.

He called Anne Frank a belieber

In 2013, Justin Bieber visited Anne Frank House in Amsterdam while on tour in Europe. The Jewish diarist, who perished in the Holocaust at 15, is widely regarded as one of the pivotal writers of the 20th century. As such, one would assume that Bieber would be incredibly moved by the visit. However, his perception of Frank was one that shocked even some of his most ardent supporters.

"Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully, she would have been a belieber," the pop star wrote in the guest book, according to Washington Post. He subsequently faced backlash, with CNN reporting that people found his note to be disrespectful and self-obsessed. Meanwhile, Condé Nast Traveler wrote, "It's perhaps fair to say that Bieber's blithe speculation over whether Anne ... would have been 'a belieber' was at best ill-judged and at worst, hopelessly narcissistic."

But in a surprise move, the singer was defended by Anne Frank House. The museum responded to the controversy on Facebook by praising Bieber, arguing that his visit was ultimately raising awareness of Frank, even if his guest book message was more than a tad misguided. The Anti-Defamation League also defended the "Baby" singer, highlighting that his comments were likely inspired by the fact that Frank was a pop culture enthusiast, per BuzzFeed

Justin Bieber used racist language on several occasions

Over the years, there's been an alarming number of celebs caught using racist language. Unfortunately, Justin Bieber is no exception. In 2014, a video resurfaced wherein a 15-year-old Bieber made racist jokes. Per TMZ, the singer was acutely aware that he was being filmed when uttering the remarks, which included making chainsaw noises while using a pejorative racist term.

Per the BBC, Bieber swiftly apologized for the offensive jibes, claiming that he didn't understand the hurt caused by the language at the time. Days after the apology, TMZ posted another video of Bieber using racist slurs. This time, he'd replaced lyrics to the song "One Less Lonely Girl" with the same offensive term. He then joked about joining the Ku Klux Klan.

Sadly, the racism accusations didn't stop there. In 2021, Bieber was criticized for sharing the music of country musician Morgan Wallen, who had recently been caught using a derogatory racist term. As reported by Rolling Stone, in a series of posts to his Instagram Story, Bieber denied awareness of Wallen's racist comments and apologized for supporting the country artist. He also addressed his own racist history. "When I was a kid, I was incredibly ignorant and said some very hurtful racist jokes that were clearly not funny," he wrote. "I hurt a lot of people, especially the Black people in my life but was fortunate enough to have had them educate me on the horrifying origin of the N-word."

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

His messy romance with Selena Gomez

Justin Bieber's highly publicized relationship with Selena Gomez began in 2011. Sadly, their romance got off to a rocky start when a Bieber fan, Mariah Yeater, claimed that she had given birth to the singer's love child after losing her virginity to him. Per TMZ, Bieber agreed to a paternity test, though the outcome is unknown. When he and Gomez broke up, things got even shadier.

In 2016, Bieber appeared to move on to new lady love Sofia Richie and proceeded to post snaps of the rumored couple on social media. When his fans blasted Richie in the comments, an account claiming to be Gomez wrote a comment suggesting the "Yummy" singer shouldn't post pictures of his girlfriend if he can't handle the response. In retaliation, Bieber wrote back (via Teen Vogue), "It's funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad."

In a 2020 interview with NPR, Gomez also alleged that her ex-boyfriend emotionally abused her during the relationship. "I do feel I was a victim to certain abuse," she said. "... I had to find a way to understand it as an adult." Though Bieber didn't respond to her claims, in a 2019 Instagram post the singer opened up about abusing his romantic relationships from the age of 19 after he started using heavy drugs. He wrote, "I became resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry." He noted that he's since turned his life around.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

His DUI arrest ... and that famous mugshot

By the mid 2010s, Justin Bieber's wholesome image had been replaced by a bad boy persona. The evolution of his character arguably began with his arrest in 2014. Then aged 19, he was charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license, and resisting arrest in Miami Beach, per CNN. When the cops pulled him over, Bieber swore at them, seemingly incredulous as to why he was stopped. "At first, he was a little belligerent, using some choice words questioning why he was being stopped and why the officer was even questioning him," said Miami police chief Raymond Martinez.

Subsequently, Bieber's mugshot made the rounds. The popster's grinning face has now become the stuff of mugshot legend, with E! noting that social media users were quick to memeify the image. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Bieber entered a plea deal, paying out hefty fines in lieu of jail time and undergoing anger management classes.

In 2021, he reflected on the DUI arrest on Instagram, revealing that the incident was the wake-up call he needed to get his life back on track. He encouraged others who are struggling to seek help. "Not proud of where I was at in my life," he wrote. "I was hurting, unhappy, confused, angry, mislead [sic], misunderstood and angry at god ... My encouragement to you is to 'let your past be a reminder of how far god has brought you. Don't allow shame to ruin your 'today.'"

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Bieber was caught sneaking out of a brothel

Justin Bieber's bad boy rep continued when he was snapped leaving a Brazilian brothel, barely concealing his identity underneath a sheet. According to Page Six, who first shared the incriminating photos, Bieber and his pals spent over three hours in the establishment in 2013. Accordingly, fans blasted him on social media, decrying that the singer had become too immersed in the excesses of a celeb lifestyle.

The anonymous sex worker with whom Bieber allegedly acquired services spoke about the pair's rendezvous to CRITICA. She claimed that the star paid her $500 for her services before branding his assets as merely average. "It wasn't, say, wow!" she told the outlet — unbeliebable. However, the "Peaches" warbler had an entirely different take on matters. Speaking with the Daily Mail, a source close to Bieber claimed that he never intended to visit the brothel, but mistook the establishment for a private members' club.

The day after the brothel incident, Bieber was allegedly continuing with the debauched shenanigans in Brazil. The Mirror reported that the star brought 10 women back to his hotel where they were fed chicken nuggets after being made to sign confidentiality agreements and having their phones confiscated. "At one stage he got a little crazy and jumped on to a wall and yelled, 'I'm the king of the world,'" one guest told the outlet. Bieber channeling Jack Dawson? By this point, his controversial antics were just the tip of the iceberg.

The singer was accused of animal cruelty

From Joe Exotic's tiger collection to Michael Jackson and his beloved chimp, Bubbles, celebrities owning exotic pets is sadly not too unusual. Following in Jacko's footsteps, Justin Bieber adopted Mally the monkey. When the singer attempted to enter Munich with the capuchin monkey in 2013, he failed to provide German officials with vaccine and import documentation, per The Guardian. After authorities gave him an ultimatum of paying up or having the monkey confiscated, Bieber apparently decided to abandon his furbaby in a foreign country. 

The German animal protection organization, Animal Public, condemned the singer's treatment of the 14-week-old primate, stating on their website, "To separate him from his mom and to take him on tour as a living stuffed toy can only be characterized as animal cruelty." Tragically, he continued to experience behavioral issues five years later. As reported by babe, a rep for Serengeti Wildlife Park where Mally was housed, lamented that he was anxious and required round-the-clock care after the abandonment. He'd also since failed to learn the capuchin language

Speaking with GQ, Bieber admitted that he was warned against bringing Mally into Germany. However, he insisted he was carrying the correct paperwork and suggested the former circus monkey was used to traveling (using animals in circuses is itself a contentious issue, with animal charities deeming the practice animal abuse). Bieber was once again slammed by an animal rights organization when he told GQ he'd like to adopt another monkey.

He threw eggs at a neighbor's house

Egging people's houses may sound like the sole reserve of unruly kids. However, Justin Bieber was responsible for such escapades at the height of his fame. As reported by CNN, police paid a visit to Bieber's swanky LA pad in 2014 after reports that he'd scrambled a neighbor's house.

Months later, he was charged with misdemeanor vandalism after eggs-plosive surveillance footage showed the singer and his pal high fiving each other suspiciously close to the crime scene, per The Guardian. The incident purportedly caused $20,000 in property damages. In footage published by TMZ, Bieber's alleged victim can be heard warning him to stop, to which the superstar replied, "F**k you! I got another one for you, actually!" All the while, the neighbor's 13-year-old daughter was present. The property owner told the outlet that Bieber initially aimed the eggs at him as he stood on his balcony. 

Per the Los Angeles Times, Bieber pleaded no contest to vandalism. He was subsequently ordered to dish out $80,900 and to undergo anger management. The outlet reported that the singer had previously been probed for spitting at the neighbor. Regarding Bieber's troublesome antics, an insider told Rolling Stone that he was struggling to comprehend the gravity of his actions due to the dissemination of fake news. "A lot of [accusations] out there just aren't true. That makes it harder for him to recognize his behavior," they said. "... He feels persecuted and misperceived."

Justin can't stop getting into physical altercations

In 2014, Justin Bieber hit another vehicle after reportedly driving recklessly, per CBA. He subsequently got into a physical altercation with the other driver and was charged with assault. The singer's lawyer claimed that the outburst was precipitated by the stress of having paparazzi follow him when he was attempting a secluded getaway with then girlfriend, Selena Gomez. After pleading guilty to dangerous driving and assault, he was fined $750, per ITV. That same year, he was ordered to return to Argentina to face more assault accusations. As reported by Telam, Bieber allegedly attacked a photographer and a cameraman and was also accused of stealing their equipment. An Argentine court issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to face questioning, per Reuters.

In 2015, he was also wanted in connection with the assault of a man after a Cavaliers game. In video footage published by TMZ, Bieber could be seen throwing fists during the altercation. In a since deleted Facebook post (via The Sun) the apparent victim alleged that he merely wanted an autograph when the singer attacked him. However, as noted by The Sun, Bieber was also supporting the opposing team to the man, which could have triggered the row. 

Two years later, TMZ reported that Bieber ran over a paparazzo. Despite the singer arguing that it was the photographer's fault, the man sued Bieber in 2019, claiming that the incident left him physically and emotionally damaged.

He's been accused of degrading women

Justin Bieber courted further controversy in 2019 when his former choreographer Emma Portner accused him of degrading women. In an Instagram Story (via People), Portner claimed that she was paid less than minimum wage when she worked for the "Sorry" singer. She wrote, "I gave your universe my naive body, creativity, time and effort. Twice. For content you made millions off of. While I made zilch." She was purportedly so poorly compensated that she struggled to afford food. 

Portner, who is the former wife of Elliot Page, went on to slam Bieber for supporting Hillsong — a church she and Page accused of being anti-LGBTQ (in a 2015 blog post, Hillsong founder Brian Houston suggested that while gay people are welcome at the church, it doesn't support their lifestyle). The dancer wrote, "How do you feel about ... a lesbian, HELPING YOU, for a disrespectful amount of money, as you attend a church that goes against my existence?"

A year later, Vulture reported that two anonymous women had accused Bieber of sexual assault on Twitter. The first claimed that he'd raped her in 2014, after meeting the singer at a music event in Austin. The second woman alleged that the singer sexually assaulted her the following year. Bieber denied the allegations and shared receipts in a bid to disprove the claims. He launched a $20 million defamation lawsuit against the women, but dropped it in 2022, per Sky News

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

He treated his fans like trash

Celebs treating fans like trash is unfortunately all too common. In many cases, the excesses of fame and fortune go to stars' heads and manifest in some truly sus behavior. One of Justin Bieber's most infamous exertions of ill treatment towards his fans occurred during a 2013 show in London. Per the Daily Mail, Bieber reportedly left his young audience in tears after being two hours late for his set. According to insiders, he had a temper tantrum and locked himself in his dressing room, supposedly telling staff, "It's my gig, I will go out when I want to."

That same year, he allegedly body shamed a fan while in Australia. As reported by, he began chatting to a group of girls in bikinis in Perth when he insulted one girl's physique and suggested that she take part in "The Biggest Loser." Subsequently, the girl burst into tears. The incident was witnessed by a number of people, who corroborated the initial account.

In another instance, a fan gifted Bieber an Argentine flag, which he proceeded to throw out of his car window. Per Yahoo! News, the fan was a 15-year-old girl who had waited hours to see her idol. When the superstar simply tossed the gift, the girl was distraught. Explaining that she repeatedly apologized after throwing the flag too close to his face, she explained, "He looked at me ... grabbed the flag, threw it on the pavement, and shut the window." 

Relieving himself into a mop bucket

Surely international superstar Justin Bieber isn't the type to engage in public urination? You better beliebe it. In 2013 — which, it must be said, was quite the year for shady Bieber antics – TMZ published a video in which the singer urinated into a mop bucket in a hotel. The pop star can be heard saying that he chose to use the bucket rather than the nightclub bathroom so that his urination was memorable. To make a bizarre scenario even weirder, he went on an unhinged rant, declaring, "F*** Bill Clinton!" after spraying a photo of the former president with cleaning spray. All the while, Bieber was goaded by his entourage, the self-styled Wild Boyz.

Much was made of the outlandish display. Pacific Standard Mag suggested that the act could have been a reflection of toxic masculinity whereby Bieber got carried away with proving himself to his bros. "If you were to ask each of those men individually ... they would probably be as appalled by their own behavior as the general public," psychologist Dr. Lynne McCormack offered.

Reflecting on his past behavior in a GQ interview, he said that his transgressions ultimately made him into the man he is today. "Everyone, when they start growing up, realizes, 'Man, I did some dumb s*** when I was younger.' It's not just me," he mused. " ... If I could go back, I wouldn't really change much ... That stuff made me who I am."

Did Justin Bieber yell at his wife?

Ever since he tied the knot with Hailey Baldwin in 2018, Justin Bieber appeared a reformed man. But in a video that made the rounds on social media in 2021, Bieber appeared to be yelling in his wife's face. Responses to the brief clip were mixed with some suggesting a video like this shouldn't be judged out of context. While fans defended Bieber's actions as him simply being pumped following a performance, others remained skeptical. 

The Cut snarkily warned against dismissing the singer's behavior as being merely hyped, arguing that such ideation reinforces dangerous notions of using women as aggression outlets. On her Instagram Story (per The Cut), Hailey dismissed the negative speculation, writing, "[I] had the best time surrounded by so much love. Any other narrative floating around is beyond false." That narrative has persisted online where the rumor mill is stoked by out-of-context YouTube compilations appearing to show instances of Justin mistreating his wife. However, during an appearance on "4D With Demi Lovato," Hailey addressed the rumors and insisted they were far from the truth. 

Meanwhile, Justin himself has admitted that there was once tension between the two. Speaking to GQ, the singer admitted to struggling in the relationship while he was processing some personal trauma. "The first year of marriage was really tough," he lamented. "... There was just a lack of trust. There was all these things that you don't want to admit to the person that you're with, because it's scary."

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.