The Sudden Purpose Tour Cancellation and More of Justin Bieber's Most Controversial Moments
The pop sensation has raised more than a few eyebrows over the years
Like all kids who grow up, Justin Bieber has made some mistakes along the way.
Unlike all kids, the world watched as Bieber blundered in front of millions of social media followers in endlessly shared videos and in oft-re-quoted interviews.
Below, some of the most memorable moves that left fans waiting for the Biebs to say “Sorry.”
He hit a paparazzo with his car
The 23-year-old further consumed headlines on Wednesday when he hit a paparazzo with his car while leaving church in Beverly Hills.
Lt. Scott Dowling of the Beverly Hills Police Department told PEOPLE that the accident occurred outside the Saban Theater at 9:24 p.m. According to Lt. Dowling, the victim suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Cedars-Sinai hospital.
“He tried to scare away the paparazzi but as he neared the group, he accidentally hit one of the photographers who was in his path,” said the source, who noted that a slew of photographers were at the end of the driveway.
The tour cancellation
On July 24, Bieber’s rep announced through a statement that the remainder of his Purpose world tour dates would be canceled “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
“Justin loves his fans and hates to disappoint them. He thanks his fans for the incredible experience of the Purpose World Tour over last 18 months,” the statement continued. “He is grateful and honored to have shared that experience with his cast and crew for over 150 successful shows across six continents during this run. However, after careful consideration, he has decided he will not be performing any further dates.”
The statement provided little explanation as to the exact reasoning behind the cancellation, sparking major backlash from the Beliebers.
A source told PEOPLE that Bieber is “super exhausted,” adding, “He actually does like being on tour, but he’s been touring for 18 months straight and it takes a toll.”
“I love you guys. I think you guys are awesome,” Bieber told TMZ when the outlet caught him out and about in California after the announcement. “Sorry for anyone who feels disappointed or betrayed, it’s not my heart or anything. And have a blessed day.”
Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, added in his own statement, “On behalf of myself, Justin, and the team, we are sorry. That was never our intent. But a man’s soul and well being I truly care about came first and we must all respect and honor that. Justin will be back and I know he looks forward to performing for you and with you all again. One chapter ends and another begins. Thank you again.”
The vandalism civil suit
In 2014, Bieber’s Calabasas, California, neighbor Jeffrey Schwartz called the police after the “Love Yourself” singer allegedly pelted his house with eggs. Schwartz would go on to claim that the pop star had previously spit in his face when confronted with requests that he drive slower in the neighborhood.
Bieber pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor vandalism, received two years of probation and already paid Schwartz $89,000 in restitution for damages to his home.
In January 2017, PEOPLE obtained new court documents filed by Schwartz, who slammed Bieber’s legal team for trying to cap damages from his civil suit at $25,000.
“Following the offensive and indecent attack on Mr. Schwartz, Bieber continued to harass, intimidate, and threaten the Schwartz family at every opportunity possible, which included yelling obscenities and threats at the Plaintiffs and their minor daughter, as well as making anti-Semitic statements to Plaintiff,” the recently revealed documents allege.
Schwartz claims that the actual damages, including his family’s “pain and suffering, emotional distress and property damage,” exceed $1 million.
The Prince shade
Guitarist Andrew Watt posted an emotional tribute to Prince after news broke of the music legend’s death. “Today waking up to this news I am truly beside myself devastated the last of the greatest living performers my guitar idol,” the musician wrote on Instagram.
“Well not the last greatest living performer,” Bieber appeared to write in response. Although the singer’s camp said the comments were a total fraud, the viral fake-out was enough to stir up controversy and make headlines.
The Anne Frank comments
A then-19-year-old Bieber visited Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House in-between stops on the European leg of his 2013 tour. At the time, a source told PEOPLE that he made the trip after reading the famous diary Frank wrote while in hiding during the Holocaust. One would think bad PR couldn’t possibly stem from a celebrity taking interest in one of the most poignant, tragic figures of the 20th century, but Bieber again found himself on the receiving end of vitriolic criticism.
“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber,” he wrote in the museum’s guestbook, according to their Facebook page.
A number of celebrities poked fun at Bieber for the message on Twitter.
The Japanese war criminal shrine incident
While visiting Japan in 2014, Bieber posted a picture of himself bowing in front of Yasukuni Shrine with the caption “Thank you for your blessings.” Unbeknown to him, the highly controversial monument is said to enshrine the souls of some of the country’s most brutal war criminals, including military leaders involved in the atrocities of World War II.
The pop star complied when Chinese fans began flooding Twitter and Instagram with requests that he remove the offending photo. “While in Japan I asked my driver to pull over for which I saw a beautiful shrine. I was mislead to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer,” he explained on Instagram. “To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry. I love you China and I love you Japan.”
His comments on abortion
Rolling Stone asked a 16-year-old Bieber for his thoughts on some political and social issues, and as you would probably expect from any teenager, his comments were not entirely well-considered.
“I really don’t believe in abortion,” Bieber said. “It’s like killing a baby.” When it comes to cases of rape, he added, “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”
The n-word videos
The year 2014 brought some struggles for Bieber as videos of his 14 and 15-year-old selves making jokes that involved the n-word surfaced.
The first footage to emerge, which was published by TMZ, showed the teen telling a joke that begins “Why are black people afraid of chainsaws?” and ends with a string of the racial slur.
Bieber issued an apology to the Associated Press when the years-old video came to light. “I’m very sorry,” he said. “I take all my friendships with people of all cultures very seriously and I apologize for offending or hurting anyone with my childish and inexcusable behavior.”
“I thought it was ok to repeat hurtful words and jokes, but I didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t funny and that in fact my actions were continuing the ignorance,” the statement continued. “Thanks to friends and family I learned from my mistakes and grew up and apologized for those wrongs. Now that these mistakes from the past have become public I need to apologize again to all of those who I have offended Ignorance has no place in our society and I hope the sharing of my faults can prevent others from making the same mistake in the future. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say but telling the truth is always what’s right. Once again … I’m sorry.”
Unfortunately for him, another slur-filled video of Bieber emerged within the week. In the clip, the teen star parodies his hit “One Less Lonely Girl.” “One less lonely n—–,” he sings through a smile. “If I kill you, I’d be part of the KKK, and there’s gonna be one less lonely n—–.”
Bieber issued his second apology in an interview with The Sun. “Facing my mistakes from years ago has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with,” he said. “But I feel now that I need to take responsibility for those mistakes and not let them linger. I just hope that the next 14-year-old kid who doesn’t understand the power of these words does not make the same mistakes I made years ago. At the end of the day I just need to step up and own what I did.”