Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Justin Bieber and the language used around prostitution.

Women are not “take out”.

Mon, Nov 4, 2013, 11:43


I’m not a fan of Justin Bieber’s music, but I think he’s a captivating celebrity because of his level of his fame, and growing infamy. Whether it’s having monkeys confiscated from his care, or annoying neighbours by speeding, or walking through airport security shirtless, or the drip, drip, drip stories of women, weed and wild behaviour (all of which are impossible to validate really considering the amount of made up stuff in the tabloid press, magazines and online), it’s interesting to see a young man at the height of almost unimaginable fame just ‘be’.

The latest scandal he’s found himself embroiled in is this report from Page Six alleging he spent some time at a brothel in Rio de Janeiro after apparently being identified by his tattoos and security team who were photographed leaving the building.

Page Six describe Centauros, the brothel, as a “popular whorehouse” and a “sex den”. The article goes on to reference another report that Justin Bieber had allegedly spent time with a “hooker” in Panama.

The Daily Mail included light-hearted captions in their reporting of the story. The little scamp!

The Irish Independent uses ‘Bieber’s Bordello’ as a headline for their story. Catchy. “It has been rated as the number three best brothel in the world according to a men only website,” they say of the brothel. I don’t know guys! I read somewhere else that it was top four!

The UK Mirror calls the incident “a saucy trip”, referencing the fact that Bieber had visited a strip club in Texas recently. “With his new bulging biceps and six-pack, wispy moustaches and latest x-rated trips, we think he’s doing a bloomin’ great job at dusting off his old image,” the Mirror says.

Metro goes for “popular sex haunt”, “sex den” and “ladies of the night”. And a Vegas site calls the women who allegedly accompanied Bieber back to his hotel “two to go”, calls his actions “a little brothel shopping”. You know, like coffee or a new pair of Supra trainers.

Sky News calls the brothel “high-end”. Thank God for that! VH1 wonders did Bieber “get busy” in the brothel.

Whether the story is true or not, reporters or ‘news gatherers’, or whoever is copying and pasting the details from the original report so their website has some ‘content’ about it, need to grow up when writing about the sex industry. Brothels are illegal in Brazil, after all, while prostitution is legal. This is not a late night caper or a story about getting wasted in a club. The allegations are about a teenager buying sex. That’s not fun or ‘bad boy’ behaviour. That’s serious and sad and pathetic – whether it’s true or not, because the reporting on it is making that assumption and goes from there.

Brazil has massive issues with prostitution, from the large scale trafficking of women into the sex industry, to a crisis of child prostitution where it is estimated somewhere between 250,000 to 2,000,000 children are involved in prostitution. Reporting on allegations of a privileged young man potentially visiting a brothel where the purchase of sex occurs is not just another incident in a growing line of seemingly reckless behaviour. Whether Bieber was involved in anything of the sort or not, the reporting on the sex industry should at least reflect even just a small bit of gravity.