Ethical Issues Surrounding Justin Bieber’s Nude Photos

Ricky+Brigante+Photo%2C+Courtesy+of+Flickr

Ricky Brigante Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

Justin Bieber is at it again, and this time around, his latest scandal doesn’t involve false paternity tests, underage drinking, altercations with the paparazzi, or speeding (all of which Justin has been subjected to in the past), but instead, nude photographs. While vacationing in Bora Bora last week with model Jayde Pierce, Bieber couldn’t help but make an outdoor appearance — unclothed, of course (Pierce was also photographed, although she was wearing a bathrobe).

Given the 21-year-old singer’s track record, it’s no surprise that these photos have surfaced (while on a boat in July, Bieber posted a photo of his bare bum to his Instagram account, before removing the picture soon afterwards). What’s questionable, however, is how the press has handled the publication of these pictures. New York Daily News obtained these photos and censored Bieber’s bits before releasing them. Soon after this, Bieber’s original pictures were tracked down and published, depicting Bieber 100% in the nude. With this, Twitter absolutely exploded and people worldwide were critiquing the pop star’s latest reckless act.

For some people, the “What Do You Mean” singer’s pictures proved to be extremely entertaining and hilarious. One person tweeted, “I’m sorry but this Justin Bieber naked thing is one of those moments I’ve wished for forever #sorrynotsorry,” while somebody else wrote, “Um what about those leaked Justin Bieber photos though! Like Drake and Future what a time to be alive.” Or better yet, “Our kids will ask us: Where were you when you first saw Justin Bieber’s penis?”

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Stephen Eckert Photo, Courtesy of Flickr

Other people, however, came to Bieber’s defense in light of this leak. One person tweeted, “Some people really need to understand that everyone needs privacy, pls don’t forget it we’re all human #RespectJustinsPrivacy.” Or, “Even though he’s famous but he still deserves privacy as everyone else on earth cause he’s human too #RespectJustinsPrivacy.” Some fans simply reaffirmed their love for the pop star in writing, “We love you @justinbieber always remember that.”

Despite whether you found Bieber’s photos amusing or disappointing, the question still remains: Was it ethical for these pictures to be published? Just last year, chaos erupted when nude photos of several different female celebrities (including Jennifer Lawrence and Gabrielle Union) were leaked to the Internet. Articles written about feminism, sexism and women’s rights were created because of this degrading incident. In response to this scandal, actress Emma Watson (who was not amongst the group of women whose photos were released) tweeted, “Even worse than seeing women’s privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy.”

So, why aren’t people reacting this same way in light of Bieber’s pictures? Is it because he has a rebellious history? Or is because of the fact that he’s a man? In an article posted on MTV’s website, titled, “Please Stop Looking at Justin Bieber’s Photos,” Katie Kausch writes, “This nude photo leak isn’t any different from any of the other nude photo leaks that have happened recently. Being a celebrity doesn’t negate your right to privacy entirely.” Kausch goes on to say, “If you wouldn’t click on leaked naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis or Vanessa Hudgens, don’t click on naked pictures of Justin Bieber, LeBron James or Cole Sprouse. All bodies deserve to be treated with respect.”

Others, however, argue that by venturing outside in the nude, Bieber was practically setting himself up to be photographed. In regards to this, E! News wrote on their website, “whether or not Bieber intended for anyone…to see him naked at the time does not necessarily mean that he was in a place where he couldn’t expect others to get a glimpse.” And, “more times than not he willingly has let the outside in.” It appears that this news outlet is lacking empathy for the super star.

Prior to the release of these nude photos, Bieber had been continually sharing pictures of his Bora Bora vacation to his Instagram account. He posted visuals of himself relaxing by the pool with his guitar while donning bathing suit bottoms and a fedora, as well as pictures of Pierce jet skiing and looking out over the ocean while adorning a white bikini. It’s important to note that while Bieber voluntarily posted these particular photos, he didn’t consent to the release of his nude pictures. In this sense, the publication of these racy photos can be seen as damaging to both Bieber’s career and character.

Whether you’re willing to side with Bieber or not in regards to this picture leak, there certainly seems to be a double standard when it comes to nude photo releases of females versus males. I guess we’ll have to simply wait and observe how the public reacts to Bieber’s next controversial stunt. Until then, stay tuned.

Feature Image: Ricky Brigante Photo, Courtesy of Flickr, URL