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Justin Bieber gets traction from politician who complained about his speeding

» Posted by on Jul 18, 2012


Now Justin Bieber is in the news again not because of a new album. But because a Los Angeles city councilman saw Bieber driving faster than 100 miles per hour on a city street last Friday and believes the teen pop star should be arrested and not just ticketed.

“As I watched, I was anticipating a crash,” Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former veteran police officer told ABC News. “It was chaos. Total willful disregard for people on the roadway.”

When police caught up with him, Bieber said he was being chased by paparazzi. All Bieber got was a ticket. And the paparazzo pursuing Bieber may be charged criminally, according to a report in L.A. Times.

Though this incident is clearly a detour from music, Bieber is getting a positive bump from the negative press.

So why is that? Why are some celebrities like Teflon and nothing sticks?

Justin Bieber 100 miles per hour

Justin Bieber and his fast luxury sports car.

It may seem that way. And in some cases it is that way and the reasons why varies.

But I think in this case it has more to do with the incident.

Here’s what I mean: If, God forbid, someone were hurt in this ordeal–Bieber, a bystander, or both–the dynamic would change dramatically.

Some might still sympathize with Bieber because way back in people’s minds is Princess Diana and how she died while being chased by a paparazzo.

If Bieber were speeding because he thought he was hot stuff or under the influence and someone got hurt, then he’d be in trouble.

Context is important. In this case I can think there are many people who believe the paparazzi take it too far. And in the case of celebrities, almost all of them, the public wants to believe they did nothing wrong because, well, we “celebrate” them.

Which brings us back to this City Councilman who stepped forward to speak his mind.

Smart move? I’d say it won’t be a popular move.

In fact, I’d bet his political stock takes a hit because: He’s from L.A. complaining about a pop star and he’s complaining about a popular pop star who was chased by a paparazzo. I think in this one Bieber has most of the public on his side.

Sure the public believes it is wrong to drive that fast. And sure they know it is unsafe to drive that fast for any reason. But they also believe that someone stalking you, even if that person is a photographer, is also wrong.

They will be somewhat conflicted and because Bieber is a celebrity they will be sympathetic to Bieber and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Only if someone were hurt would this dynamic change. And thank goodness no one was hurt.

The City Councilman might have been better served by qualifying his argument. He should have said it was wrong for a paparazzo to pursue Bieber like that. But it is equally bad for Justin Beiber to drive that fast and someone could have been killed. He could have added had Beiber slowed down, the paparazzo would have, too and as a former police officer that would have been all the things he would examined as he considered whether he would recommend that the D.A. press charges or arrest him.

What do you think? Add your comments below…

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Glenn Selig founded The Publicity Agency in 2007 and has represented some of the biggest newsmakers and most influential business leaders and companies nationwide. He is a frequent guest on MSNBC, Fox News Channel and on CNN. Reporters call him for an expert PR opinion on high profile cases to offer perspective. He also appears on air to publicly defend his clients. View the PR firm website and follow him on Twitter @GlennSelig