It’s a jarring thing to witness before having your morning coffee—on a Monday morning, no less. And yet, countless innocents met the most harrowing set of photos when logging online to start their work week. There, on their computer screens, were pictures of a naked Justin Bieber.
Yes, TMZ is to thank (TMZ is to blame?) for this gift. The site posted two photos of Bieber in the buff. The first shows Bieber’s wiener carefully obscured by a guitar. “It’s my dick in a guitar!” TMZ jokingly captions the photo.
The second is significantly more NSFW and significantly less modest. It is Bieber’s butt! It’s the back angle of that guitar photo, revealing the Canadian pop star’s backside for all to see. You may gasp and make a quick move to close out of your browser, as surely this is child pornography. But fear not (OK, fear a little). The photos were taken in October 2012, when the petulant pop star was a few months past his 18th birthday—information that surely makes everyone unsure exactly how to feel about this whole situation.
Settling down from the initial shock, it's just plain natural to laugh. That these photos even exist is ridiculous enough. But the story behind why they exist is even more bonkers. Here, every insane detail from TMZ’s report:
—It was Canadian Thanksgiving, and Bieber was at his grandmother’s house with his whole family.
—His grandmother is seen in the bare-ass photo. (God giveth, and God taketh away: it’s Bieber’s booty! ... and his grandmother.)
—Bieber was in fact singing to grandmother (rockin’ out with his … well, you get it). His impromptu lyrics: “I loooove you grandmaaaa … how are youuuu … helloooo grandma.” Surely, Leonard Cohen has done similar things.
—He apparently pulled the stunt after oversleeping Thanksgiving morning, trying to ingratiate himself to family members who were a little annoyed at Sleeping Biebeauty.
—His grandmother loved it.
(Requests for comment from the future Playgirl model have gone unanswered.)
The response to the photo is rather interesting. A few easy jokes were made at Bieber’s expense—look at Bieber “strumming his wood,” etc.—but there’s been hardly any outrage. There’s been none on the level that’s accompanied the star’s recent controversies—the peeing in the mop bucket incident, the assault on the photographer—and certainly no outrage on the level that floods the Internet when any revealing, let alone nude, photo of tween-friendly celebrities leak.
Remember the outcry when Miley Cyrus bared just her back (let alone her backside) for Vanity Fair? Or when Dakota Fanning starred in an ad for Marc Jacobs’s Oh, Lola! perfume, and the Internet collectively clutched their pearls at its Lolita suggestiveness—even though Fanning was fully clothed without even a hint of décolletage? Of course, there’s also the case of High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens leaked nude photos, which swiftly morphed from an innocent transgression into the cautionary tale of the digital age about inappropriate sexting and foolish Internet trust.
Contrast the response to those cases to, say, the sheer and utter glee that accompanied paparazzi photos of Hudgens’s High School Musical counterpart Zac Efron’s bum last year. Replacing the judging finger wag was the rapid mouse-clicking of lustful fans trying to find the photos ASAP. Earlier this month, alleged nude photos of Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson leaked, and hardly any fuss was made, other than faux-ashamed whispers from a few asking where to find them.
And now, these Bieber photos are released, and rather than being treated as scandal, they’re laughed off as a Bart Simpson–like prank played in real life. Yes, the photos are hilarious, and, truthfully, the only real appropriate response to seeing Justin Bieber’s bum is to giggle. But it is interesting to see the different ways the media respond to photos like these of our Tiger Beat stars based on the young celeb's gender.
All that said, there are photos of naked Justin Bieber on the Internet. Happy Monday.