Justin Bieber Fires Back In Hollywood Reporter: “I Don’t Give A F***” What Haters Say
Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun open up about the superstar’s controversies, struggles, mentors and influences in a wide-ranging cover interview with The Hollywood Reporter. In his first extensive sit-down interview in nine months, The Biebs fires back at his haters.
“I don’t give a f***,” he tells the magazine. Bieber elaborates, “Not ‘I don’t give a f—‘ to just be reckless and do whatever, but ‘I don’t give a f— what they say.'” He adds, “I know who I am and what I’m doing in my life and what I’ve accomplished and continue to accomplish as a performer, as a writer, as an artist, as a person, as a human being. I’m happy with the man I’m becoming.”
Braun expands on how Bieber and his team are choosing to ignore the flurry of negative stories that come with the intense scrutiny under which the singer lives. “The rumors were coming so fast and furious that we couldn’t address all of them,” he tells the outlet. “Say whatever the f— you want. Justin’s not going to go crazy. He’s not going to end up in rehab. He’s not going to end up a statistic. Nine months ago, they said he lost his mind — he hasn’t missed a show since. So we’re just going to shut up.”
Bieber knows that controversy sells, and that he is going to be used. “When people see a negative thing about me on a magazine, they’re gonna buy it,” says the star. “Every time some site writes something bad, all my followers go on there, and it brings them more traffic. Now they have all the Beliebers on their site, which gives them money from advertisers.”
Bieber laments, “They’re just worried about money. They don’t care about ruining someone’s name.” “I think his moments of anger come from his resentment towards the ridicule [and] of being judged for things, which a lot of times he hasn’t even done,” says Braun. The manager notes, “He’s the only person in humanity who’s grown up the way he has — with smartphones and cameras on him 24/7. Another kid can go out and have a good night on the town, and no one gives a crap, but Justin is the most Googled person on the planet — for four years straight!”
At the center of the storm, Bieber trusts very few people. He tells the magazine he’s learned through “just living” that “you shouldn’t trust anybody.” “I trust my mom and dad,” says Bieber. “I trust Scooter with my career; he’s always made sure I’m taken care of. That’s it.”
But he and Braun have occasionally butted heads as Bieber’s gotten older. “When I try to [overprotect Bieber] now, he’s resentful, he pushes away and rebels,” explains Braun. “What I’ve come to learn is: Be there, give the best advice you can, but he has to be allowed to make his own decisions — and his own mistakes.” Bieber reflects, “Scooter was like the father figure in my life. But when I started to grow up, it was hard for him to have to listen to my input. I want to be me, to show everybody who I am as an individual. I don’t want to just be a puppet.”
Besides Braun, Bieber has other professional influences and mentors. In terms of the music itself, The Biebs says, “I’m really influenced by R&B, but I love everybody — from Michael Jackson to The Beatles to, like, Led Zeppelin and Korn.” “I’m very influenced by black culture, but I don’t think of it as black or white,” says Bieber. “It’s not me trying to act or pose in a certain way. It’s a lifestyle — like a suaveness or a swag, per se. But I don’t really like to say the word [‘swag’] anymore. It’s kind of played out.”
And Bieber has caught the attention of other major stars who are willing to help him. Oprah Winfrey, Adam Levine, and Mark Wahlberg have all reached out to assist him. Eminem’s manager has told Braun, “If you ever want Eminem to talk to him, he would do it in a second. He cares about that kid.” “Drake is like a big brother to Justin. And Justin really looks up to Drake. They have an extremely special relationship,” he tells the magazine.
But perhaps no other celebrity has as big an influence on The Biebs as Will Smith, who once drove to Bieber’s house and pulled him out of bed for a three-hour talk when the singer was at a low point earlier this year. Braun describes Bieber’s reaction to Smith’s efforts that day: “He said, ‘Man, that makes me feel so loved. I woke up, and there’s Will Smith, one of, if not the, biggest movie stars on the planet. He took time out of his day for me.'” Bieber and Smith now have a weekly call, although Braun points out that Scientology is “never discussed.”
As for his career arc, Bieber is trying to maintain perspective. “Michael Jackson didn’t do Off the Wall until he was about 23,” he says of late performer’s 1979 breakout album. “Bad, not until he was, like, 25 [Jackson was 29]. I have all the time in the world.”
Check out a video from Bieber and Braun’s The Hollywood Reporter shoot below!