The Sun and Metro were both forced to pull stories this week after it was discovered their supposed interviews with Justin Bieber were fake. The two publications each ran articles online featuring purported quotes from the superstar, but he never actually spoke with either outlet. Gossip Cop can explain what went down.
On Sunday, Metro posted a story in which Bieber supposedly offered “advice” to Simon Cowell and endorsed TV music competitions. He was quoted as saying, “These shows have credibility for as long as they keep discovering talent. You aren’t going to find a One Direction every season but I think Simon does need to find a big star this year.” It was also alleged Bieber said, “I have never understood the hate towards talent shows. Some of the biggest artists of the last 10 years have been discovered that way. If it wasn’t for those shows, we might not know who One Direction, Little Mix, Kelly Clarkson and Fifth Harmony are… and that wouldn’t be good for the industry.”
While the statements are fairly innocuous and supportive of both Cowell and reality shows like “The X Factor UK,” Bieber never actually said any of this. But multiple other sites picked up the quotes as if they were authentic. They were not, and Metro ultimately took its story down. Now when one goes to the URL, an “Oops! That page can’t be found” message is found. It’s unclear if the outlet was duped by someone pretending to be Bieber or outright fabricated the piece, but what’s particularly surprising and alarming is that this wasn’t an isolated incident.
A few days later, on Tuesday, The Sun announced it had an “exclusive” interview with Bieber, claiming he “told The Sun Online” that Ed Sheeran “owes him a song.” In that article, the singer supposedly recounted how Sheeran accidently hit him in the head with a golf club. Sheeran actually first shared the details of that mishap in an interview earlier this year. But now the British tabloid claimed Bieber himself was speaking out about it, too, and using it as leverage to get Sheeran to collaborate with him again. “Of course I want him to write for me again in the future. I get that every artist out there wants him to write for them, but we are buddies and he still owes me from hitting me with a golf club,” Bieber was quoted as saying.
It was further alleged Bieber said, “I think probably a lot of people aren’t even aware of some of the songs he has written for the biggest performers in the world over the last few years. He wrote ‘Love Yourself’ for me and bang — it was the biggest song of 2016.” Like with aforementioned statements about Cowell, there’s nothing egregious here in these purported remarks about Sheeran. The problem is that Bieber never made them. And like with Metro, The Sun has since taken down its story. The page now states, “WHOOPS! We can’t seem to find what you’re looking for. Try our search below or return to our homepage.” What’s more is the URL was updated to note there was a “legal removal.”
It’s unclear if Bieber’s camp forced the take-downs, and it’s unknown if these instances of two British outlets both publishing fake quotes were related in some way or mere coincidence. Gossip Cop previously busted the Mirror more than a year ago for similarly trying to pass off an “exclusive” interview with Bieber. In that case, the article featured both wholly made-up quotes and real statements that were plagiarized from a legitimate interview with another publication. With this new situation, a rep for Bieber exclusively tells Gossip Cop the interviews were both “made up.” See screengrabs below.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.