Justin Bieber and his public-relations team has been lauded for the elaborate punk that made millions of Beliebers dread a potential scandal would rock the popular singer. But the city of Tacoma, Wash., isn’t ready to give him a high-five for the stunt.
Bieber made the world believe that a Twitter user stole his laptop personal computer from the Tacoma Dome. The Twitter user @gexwy claimed to have damning information on Biebs, threatening to release the information Friday at noon.
When the clock struck 12 p.m. on the East Coast, there were no nude photos, sex tapes, or any other embarrassing information linked to Bieber. Instead, Twitter users were victims of a prank when @gexwy provided a link to the release of Bieber’s latest music video: a collaboration with rapper Nicki Minaj titled “Beauty and a Beat”, currently on YouTube. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a rundown of the exchange here.
Many believed the stolen laptop was part of a hoax to drum up buzz about “Beauty and a Beat,” but Bieber’s publicist said the laptop was in fact stolen. It was the Twitter exchange between @gexwy and Biebs that was a hoax, she told the Associated Press. The publicist, Melissa Victor, would not elaborate on whether @gexwy’s claims of having the stolen laptop was part of the stunt.
While the creative stunt earned kudos for Bieber and his P.R. team, elected officials in Tacoma said they felt Bieber led many to think the city has a safety problem.
“We enjoy having large acts come into our town, but our police have better things to do then get caught up in a hoax,” Tacoma City Councilman Marty Campbell said. “He created this false sense of safety of Tacoma. I think he owes Tacoma an apology.”
Joe Lonergan, Tacoma’s deputy mayor, went even further, suggesting Biebs make good by returning to the city.
“At the end of the day, it’s an unfortunate thing. I’m not angry, I’m not outraged, but I’m disappointed,” Lonergan said. “I would invite Justin to come back to Tacoma and shoot his next video here. I’m disappointed, but I know Tacoma would be happy to welcome Justin Bieber back.”
The Tacoma Police Department could not be reached for comment. It’s unclear to what extent city resources were wasted should the stolen laptop story have been a hoax. A police report was filed online, but a representative of the city’s police department told AP that an investigation into the stolen laptop is unlikely.
Commenters on an E! Online story about the potential hoax were not happy with Bieber’s P.R. stunt.
“You made my beloved town of Tacoma suffer taunts from fans and possible future performers not wanting to perform at the dome for lack of security ... all for a hoax?? What a jack a--,” wrote one Tacoma resident.
“Thanks for making Tacoma look bad, you inconsiderate little brat! Here's hoping you never come back. Karma's a b----,” said another commenter.