Trou­bled celebri­ties

Justin bieber is the lat­est child star bat­tling a very pub­lic fall from glory.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael ThURSTON

Justin Bieber is the lat­est in a long line of trou­bled for­mer child stars to veer off the rails. the ques­tion now is can those around him save the teen from a com­plete train wreck? And if so, how? A spell in re­hab? A tough-love crack­down by his man­age­ment or fam­ily? Will the lat­est brushes with the law will prove a wake-up call for the 19-year-old Cana­dian heart­throb?

“You have a teenager with un­lim­ited funds and fame, and very lim­ited men­tor­ship and par­ent­ing,” said for­mer prose­cu­tor Michael Grieco, who is also a city com­mis­sioner in Mi­ami Beach, Florida, where Bieber was ar­rested two weeks ago. “i have rep­re­sented my share of peo­ple that live in a world with seem­ingly no con­se­quences, and it is very hard to get them to deal with the real world.”

For those who fol­low Bieber’s an­tics closely, his ar­rest in Mi­ami Beach and as­sault charges in toronto, Canada – within the space of less than a week – are hardly sur­pris­ing.

tabloid me­dia have for months chron­i­cled his re­peated run-ins with po­lice and neigh­bours in and around the plush man­sion where he lives in Cal­abasas, north­west of Los An­ge­les in the united states. the singer has also found him­self in trou­ble with au­thor­i­ties in Aus­tralia and Brazil for spray­ing graf­fiti. in Brazil, Bieber was pho­tographed emerg­ing un­der a blan­ket from a no­to­ri­ous Rio brothel.

But un­like sim­i­lar Amer­ica hell-rais­ers, the Cana­dian could in the­ory be booted out of the us, where he has made his ca­reer. Last week, a pub­lic pe­ti­tion on the White House web­site passed 200,000 sig­na­tures, twice the thresh­old to merit an of­fi­cial re­sponse.

“We would like to see the dan­ger­ous, reck­less, de­struc­tive and drug-abus­ing Justin Bieber de­ported,” it said. that came af­ter he was charged on Jan 23 with driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence af­ter po­lice caught him al­legedly drag rac­ing in Mi­ami Beach. then, he was charged with as­sault­ing a limou­sine driver in Canada, af­ter turn­ing him­self in at a toronto po­lice sta­tion with a crowd of fe­male fans scream­ing their sup­port.

Bieber is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the likes of Lind­say Lo­han, Brit­ney spears, Home

Alone star Macau­lay Culkin, Demi Lo­vato and more re­cently High School Mu­si­cal heart­throb Zac Efron. Michael Jack­son was another child star who patently strug­gled to make the tran­si­tion to the grown-up world.

Bieber – a global star with over 49 mil­lion twit­ter fol­low­ers – seemed to com­pare him­self to Jack­son, in an in­sta­gram posted af­ter he was charged in Mi­ami. the post showed Bieber in a dark hoodie, wav­ing out­side jail, along­side an im­age of Jack­son a decade ago when the King of Pop was fight­ing child mo­lesta­tion charges. “What more can they say,” read the cap­tion. Me­dia re­ports said Bieber’s fa­ther Jeremy – who split from the star’s mother when he was just a baby – was in­volved in the al­leged drag rac­ing.

Canada’s Globe And Mail news­pa­per said Bieber’s trou­bles can “be read as an in­dict­ment of mod­ern per­mis­sive par­ent­ing; a cau­tion­ary tale about a fa­ther­less up­bring­ing in a sin­gle­mum home.” And while young celebri­ties have al­ways be­haved badly on oc­ca­sion, so­cial me­dia means that ev­ery mis-step is played out un­der an un­re­lent­ing pub­lic spot­light.

“if i were his man­ager, i would just send Justin to his room for three months,” said Robert thomp­son, a pro­fes­sor of pop cul­ture at syra­cuse univer­sity. “the prob­lem is there’s 400 pa­parazzi out­side his room tak­ing pic­tures, plus he’s tweet­ing from his room.”

Grieco agreed, say­ing: “twit­ter and other in­stant ac­cess so­cial me­dia out­lets have con­trib­uted to a new type of celebrity frenzy, but the celebri­ties them­selves are fre­quently large con­trib­u­tors to the prob­lem. i would try to keep my client off twit­ter and in­sta­gram for a while and lay low.”

Celebrity news site TMZ re­ported Bieber wants to move out of his gated com­mu­nity – where Jack­son’s fam­ily also lives – to an area where there are no “rules and reg­u­la­tions and nosy neigh­bours.”

What­ever hap­pens, the story will in­evitably run and run. “You couldn’t write a bet­ter drama. there is in­no­cence. there is pathos. there is sus­pense. there is tragedy,” said the Globe And Mail.

Grieco said he has few doubts about how it will turn out. “Maybe Justin will sur­prise us, but if his­tory has any­thing to say about it, i doubt it. We have seen this movie be­fore.”

Boy be­hav­ing badly: Will his re­cent brushes with the law be a wake-up call for Justin bieber, seen here as he leaves the Turner Guil­ford Knight Cor­rec­tional Center in Mi­ami, Florida? (be­low, from left) brit­ney Spears, Lind­say Lo­han, demi Lo­vato and Zac efron have had their fair share of pub­lic scan­dals in the past.

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