Just don't look at Justin Bieber's junk

Alleged nudes of the singer once again prove how smarmy tabloid culture can get

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published October 8, 2015 2:26PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Bobby Yip)
(Reuters/Bobby Yip)

So I guess we've got to talk about Justin Bieber's penis. Fine. You win, Internet. On Wednesday, the New York Daily News gloated over what it claims are "EXCLUSIVE PICTURES" of the 21 year-old singer, Calvin Klein model and second-easiest punchline in the world after Donald Trump on vacation in Bora Bora with model Jayde Pierce. It featured a full gallery of blurry shots of him "letting it all hang out (literally)," with nothing but a strategic black bar over his most NSFW bits. There are also photos of him clothed, just "taking a break from being naked to have a meal."

The photos, by soulless vulture photo agency BRK/FameFlynet, have also predictably cropped up in several places in their uncensored version, leading to a wave of appreciative commentary regarding Bieber's impressive attributes, and confirming his personal trainer's assessment of earlier this year that "He is a well-endowed guy." Guess this should put to rest all those rumors that his Calvin Klein bulge was the work of Photoshop and not God's generosity. The Frisky swiftly swooned, "Good Lord, Justin Bieber Has A Really Beautiful Penis," declaring, "That’s a nice f__king wang, guys." Other sites helpfully referred to the incident as Bieber being "caught" skinny-dipping, as if somehow he'd been cavorting in the Trevi Fountain and not on the balcony of a private resort. My favorite headline, though, courtesy of Hollywood Life, remains, "Justin Bieber & Jayde Pierce Vacation Naked Together." Because naked vacation!

I've yet to meet an adult male who's taken umbrage at the suggestion he has a large and beautiful penis. And Bieber, who surely knows that the paparazzi are trained on him at all times, must have considered the risks when letting Bieber Jr. outside in the fresh air. In 2013, a paparazzi was struck and killed while trying to take a picture of Bieber's car. His car. The singer also hasn't been shy about voluntarily sharing the rear view to his fans on Instagram. A spokesman from Flynet, meanwhile, told the Independent this week that "There’s no invasion of privacy" and refused to comment on whether the photographer used a long-lens camera to shoot the images.

But you still know this isn't cool, right? It doesn't matter that he's famous. It doesn't matter that he's a guy. Because you know that someone with a camera was hiding in a bush somewhere in Bora Bora for God knows how long just to get a few grainy, blurry images of the junk on the guy who sang "Baby." Someone who was paid handsomely for them. This wasn't even an accidental public viewing — like Lenny Kravitz's instantly viral summertime pants split, or LeBron's momentary peek of what's inside his shorts during the NBA playoff. It wasn't a photo he'd sent, unrequested, in the clumsy guise of courtship. As Kevin Fallon writes in the Daily Beast, "It is a grave invasion of privacy, one that we are excusing because Justin Bieber is a dude…. Especially at a time when stars’ personal safety has been compromised by our rapacious desire to breach their right to privacy, intimacy, and their own sexual agency — let’s not forget how horrifying and despicable The Fappening was—it’s problematic that our appetite for such photos is still insatiable." It's also ridiculous. You don't go around taking creepshots of people and you don't invite commentary about the aesthetic value of their private parts. It's so, so juvenile. All this effort, all this money changing hands, all this breathless excitement, and for what? To violate a man's privacy and prove to the world that he has genitalia. Now that it's official, can we please grow up and get over it?

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By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Aol_on Justin Bieber Lebron James Lenny Kravitz Paparazzi