1:08pm PT by Seth Abramovitch
Justin Bieber's Stolen Laptop: Hoax or No Hoax?
When it comes to the case of Justin Bieber and the missing laptop, color us confused.
It all started on Wednesday, when the "Boyfriend" singer tweeted to his 29 million followers, "Yesterday during the show me and my tour manager Josh had some stuff stolen. Really sucks. People should respect other's property." He was apparently referring to his computer, which was allegedly stolen during a tour stop in Tacoma, Washington. Coming as it did after a "SWATting" of his Calabasas home by pranksters, it seemed like Bieber was getting it from every direction.
Rumors immediately began to circulate that the hard drive contained several things Bieber did not want the world to see, including a naked photo (a headless shot of a nude body started making the rounds on Twitter) and an allegedly illicit video, teased throughout the week by a Twitter user named @gexwy ,who claimed to have the laptop and had successfully cracked Bieber's password. Bieber at one point responded directly to @gexwy, pledging, "No matter what you have and what you post tomorrow I know my fans won't leave me. Screw it. #toostrong."
Yesterday, @gexwy linked to the video he had been promising for days -- and it brought Twitter users to the brand new video for Bieber's duet with Nicki Minaj, "Beauty and a Beat."
Sorry, Internet! You've just been Biebered.
But not so fast: Bieber's publicist Melissa Victor now tells the Associated Press that the laptop actually was stolen during that Tacoma show. "Be very clear, the laptop was indeed stolen in Tacoma. That was NOT a hoax," Victor wrote in an email.
Further investigation by the AP into the matter found that a police report was filed online in Tacoma, but police spokesman Mark Fulghum said not much happened beyond that.
"A lot of people got played," a suspicious Fulghum said. "It became a big media frenzy, so I guess that was the idea."
So what really happened? An unfortunate situation spun on the fly into a viral marketing campaign? Or are we being had on top of being had?
Burn us once, Bieber...