Justin Bieber feels 'like a zoo animal,' is 'done' taking pictures with fans
By Christie D'Zurilla
May 11, 2016 | 12:08 PM
Justin Bieber says he's done posing for pictures with fans, because he wants to keep his sanity. And no, this time he's not going to say that he's sorry.
"If you happen to see me out somewhere know that I'm not gonna take a picture," he said Tuesday on Instagram. "I'm done taking pictures. It has gotten to the point that people won't even say hi to me or recognize me as a human."
The "Love Yourself" singer, who has been in the public eye for more than a third of his life since being discovered on YouTube in 2007, said, "I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity.
The 22-year-old has had to contend not only with paparazzi but with legions of screaming fans who stake out his hotels and other destinations and clamor for a glimpse of or moment with their idol.
"I realize people will be disappointed but I don't owe anybody a picture," he continued, "and people who say 'but I bought ur album' know that you got my album and you got what you paid for AN ALBUM. It doesn't say in fine print whenever you see me you also get a photo."
Yes, people were disappointed, prompting the Biebs to follow up by highlighting and responding to a comment -- one of more than 100,000 as of Wednesday morning — he'd gotten in answer to his no-more-pics statement.
The Instagram user had started off with a crude insult, not repeated here, then moved into straight beratement.
"Your fans at the reason you are as successful as you are," the commenter wrote. "The least you could do is take pictures with them. I'm sure it's annoying not being able to live a 'normal' life, but 'normal' isn't what you signed up for. Get over it and stop being a douche."
Really? You gotta go and get angry at all of his honesty? But Bieber didn't back down, and in fact owned the second slur.
"Years ago it was impossible to even take a picture at anytime not everyone was accessible to a camera now everyone has a camera phone and Now it's just a different thing," the singer wrote. "If you think setting boundaries is being a douche I'm the biggest douche around but I think it's smart and will be the only way I last."
He'd tried to set fan-photo boundaries last September, saying calmly in a video on Snapchat that screaming at him would make him less likely to stop for a snap.
"Honestly," he said in that 2015 video, "I'd rather stand there and talk to you for five minutes and not take any photos, and us to be able to have that moment, rather than just chaos. It's like, why did you travel to see me in the first place? Was it to see me, or was it to get that moment of you seeing me so that you could tell people about it?"
Bieber pulled back on access again this March, canceling pricey, small-group meet-and-greets on the "Purpose" tour after he had what TMZ called a "security scare" at a meet-and-greet, where a female fan his team had on its watch list got too close. The singer has also had his hair pulled, his clothes torn and contracted the flu, the website said.
"Want to make people smile and happy but not at my expense and I always leave feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression," Beiber explained at the time.
The "Sorry" singer has been working on himself and his image for the past year — remember the roast? — after spinning out of control in 2014 with a series of arrests and other bad behavior.
In Tuesday evening's response to the Instagram commenter, Bieber explained further: "I wanna enjoy life and not be a slave to the world and their demands of what they think I need to do!! I love the fact that I am able to make people happy," he wrote, "but cmon if you truly were in my position you would understand how tiring it is ( boo hoo Justin get over it) I'm going to keep making decisions I feel are fit for my growth and no human being will make me feel bad for it."
Bieber need only look to movie star Jennifer Lawrence, 25, to find someone who agrees with him in principle.
"I knew the paparazzi were going to be a reality in my life,” the "Hunger Games" star said in 2014 (via Vanity Fair). “But I didn't know that I would feel anxiety every time I open my front door, or that being chased by 10 men you don't know, or being surrounded, feels invasive and makes me feel scared and gets my adrenaline going every day."
Lawrence of course had her privacy compromised when personal nude pictures were stolen and posted online in August 2014. Bieber wound up the victim of a paparazzo who used a long lens to take pictures of the performer as he exited a spa naked during a Bora Bora vacation last October. The pap made a buck off the full-frontal shots.
Both celebs were angry but not apologetic (though Justin had apologized a few months earlier for a posting a shot of his naked behind on Instagram — but that's a whole 'nother thing).
"You can say, 'This [invasion of privacy] is part of my job and this is going to be a reality of my life,'" Lawrence continued. “But what you don't expect is how your body and how your emotions are going to react to it. ...
"Nobody wants to help us," she said, "because it seems like, you know, 'Shut up, millionaires!'"