L.A. billboard posits that Justin Bieber is "sad" over potential minimum wage hike

The Employment Policies Institute uses the star's picture in an ad campaign on labor economics

Published May 28, 2013 9:41PM (EDT)

Notorious monkey-abandoner Justin Bieber has become the unlikely poster boy for labor economics.

Using a somewhat angry picture of the pop star, a Los Angeles billboard asks: "Why is Justin Bieber so sad?"

"Could it be because 24% of teens who want a job can't find one? Teen unemployment makes us all sad. Unfortunately, raising the minimum wage will only make things worse."

The billboard is sponsored by the Employment Policies Institute, a a D.C.-based organization that advocates against state, federal and local minimum wage increases.

Though it didn't consult Bieber, the Employment Policies Institute defends its use of the star's picture, saying that the ad doesn't draw any conclusions:

"It could be many things," Michael Saltsman, a researcher at the Employment Policies Institute told the Huffington Post. "We're asking a question -- and we're speculating the answer -- but we're not implying that he supports any particular policy."

Queries to Bieber about the billboard went unanswered, according to the Huffington Post:

A spokeswoman for Bieber did not respond to a HuffPost query asking whether the singer approved of his likeness being used and whether he agreed that the minimum wage should not be raised. A cursory search of the heartthrob's lyrics catalogue turns up no mention of the minimum wage or labor economics more generally.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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