Born-again pop star Justin Bieber is doing the Good Lord’s legwork. Between the DUIs, the N-word controversy, and the public urination, Bieber’s road to redemption hasn’t always been smooth. This summer, he allegedly cut his Purpose tour short to focus on rededicating himself to the lord—only to get in a car accident outside of his church just a few days later. But what Bieber lacks in an ability to stop hitting paparazzi with his car, he more than makes up for in religious fervor. In addition to multiple Christianity-themed tattoos, the “Despacito” singer has recently launched an initiative to rid his life of unholy influences.
According to TMZ, Justin’s religious counseling at Hillsong Church has led to a decision to “reset boundaries” with friends like Floyd Mayweather. There are a bunch of reasons why Bieber might not consider Mayweather to be a suitable Bible study buddy, but according to TMZ, Bieber’s drawing a line because of “things like Floyd’s obsession with strip clubs.” Instead of confronting his former pal, Bieber took the millennial route and unfollowed the boxer on social media. Per the gossip site’s sources, Mayweather went “insane, nuclear” after Bieber had the audacity to mess with his Instagram ratio. “He lashed out at Justin, called him a ‘traitor’ because Floyd had stuck with Justin during his meltdown when everyone was attacking Bieber. Sources connected with Floyd say the boxer continues to be incensed at Justin...screaming incensed.”
The revelation that Bieber is unlikely to attend next Saturday’s shameless Mayweather-McGregor fight is a true 180 for the pop star, who walked Mayweather into the ring for his 2015 Pacquiao bout. Of course, the suspect influence of Hillsong, the church that has been behind many of Bieber’s most recent career decisions, is a whole different story. But even if Bieber’s every move is being orchestrated by a sketchy collective of hipster Christians, his decision to freeze out Floyd is a good one. To his immense credit, this is an instance in which the Canadian crooner can claim the moral high ground. Other celebs may not have quite so many vehicular mishaps, but a disturbing number of A-listers continue to pal around with Mayweather, a known abuser of women.
The world-renowned boxer, who boasts a 49-0 career record, continues to raise the bar in the ring while lowering it considerably in his personal life. The 40-year-old has a particularly egregious history of domestic violence—which is really saying something in a world where celebrity abusers often go unchecked.
In 2001 and 2002 Mayweather attacked Melissa Brim, the mother of his child. According to a lawsuit filed by Brim, “During an argument [Mayweather] swung open a car door, hitting her jaw, pushed her into the car and punched her several times in the face and body.” After he attacked two women in a Las Vegas nightclub in 2003, Mayweather was found guilty on two counts of domestic battery and given a suspended sentence of one year in jail. In 2010, Mayweather allegedly struck his then-girlfriend Josie Harris in front of their children. According to Harris’ police report, Mayweather “grabbed Harris by her hair and began striking her in the back of her head with a closed fist several times. Mayweather pulled Harris off the couch by her hair and twisted her left arm, yelling, ‘I’m going to kill you and the man you’re messing around with.’” When Harris urged their kids to notify the police, Mayweather reportedly shouted that he would “beat their ass if they left the house or called the police.”
In total, Mayweather stands accused of seven alleged physical assaults against five different women. Still, he offers vague non-answers when grilled about his abusive past, and has repeatedly denied these allegations. Even more disturbingly, this refusal to take responsibility for his actions appears to have afforded Mayweather his own Teflon reputation. As The Daily Beast reported last week, the boxer seems to have transcended his own infamous reputation through sheer strength of repudiation.
After years of refusing to speak to his violent past, it seems like the media may be done asking questions. In a series of recent late-night appearances, Mayweather laughed with Jimmy Kimmel and tried his hand at sketch comedy with James Corden. Appearances like these don’t just serve to humanize a violent and unrepentant abuser, they also highlight the hypocrisy of late-night hosts who show off their trendy, socially/politically-conscious monologues, only to betray a complete lack of conscience with their celebrity content. As The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern wrote, “If you’re going to assume the moral high ground when it comes to President Trump, then those standards must also be applied to those who prey on women—no matter their wealth or celebrity.”
Our communal cultural amnesia applies both to violent abusers and to the tastemakers and gatekeepers who support these men and, by extension, condone their egregious behavior. By removing himself from Mayweather’s celebrity fan club, Bieber is placing himself on the right side of history. On the wrong side remains a litany of A-Listers whose names we should remember. Historically, stars have turned up to support the unrivaled fighter—Dave Chappelle, Drew Barrymore, and Nicki Minaj were all in attendance at “Mayweather VS Pacquiao,” and Jamie Foxx even opened the ceremonies with a rendition of the national anthem. Some of the boxer’s celebrity supporters have gone so far as to defend him publicly—like 50 Cent who, in 2010, dismissed Harris’ abuse allegations as “another case of angry baby momma.”
In the lead-up to the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor fight—which has also featured nauseatingly racist and homophobic trash talk—Mayweather has been bragging about all the stars who will be in his corner. According to TMZ, Angelina Jolie, Drake, Elon Musk, Diddy, Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron, and LeBron James are all planning to attend the fight, and that’s just a partial list. TMZ also got footage of Arnold Schwarzenegger pledging on camera that, “I’ll be there!” While Mayweather will be fighting to maintain his undefeated record, these stars also have something to lose: come Saturday, they’ll be outed as less morally scrupulous than Justin Bieber.