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Bieber anti-cyberbullying video ends NY legal case
Question of the Day
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) - Justin Bieber’s new anti-cyberbullying video helped his manager and a record executive resolve a legal predicament.
The video released Wednesday by a New York prosecutor is part of a plea deal settling misdemeanor charges filed after a mall fan frenzy in 2009.
The manager and executive were arrested after police ordered a Bieber autograph session at a clothing store shut down over fears someone could get hurt. More than 3,000 teens and younger girls had arrived by 1 p.m. for an event scheduled for 4 p.m., leading to the cancellation.
Bieber never appeared, but police said at one point while they were trying to disperse the crowd they were hindered by a message from Bieber’s Twitter account stating: “On my way to Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, NY to sign and meet fans! I’m pumped. See u there.”
Prosecutors said police had asked Bieber’s staff to send a tweet from his account to notify fans that the event was cancelled. Though they tried, Island Def Jam Record Music Group employees were unable to tweet on Bieber’s account because the singer’s manager, Scott Braun, had changed the account’s password to prevent anyone from cancelling the event.
About 90 minutes after the police made their initial request, they said Braun sent two tweets cancelling the event, and the crowd dispersed within 15 minutes, prosecutors said.
Braun and Def Jam Records executive James Roppo were charged with misdemeanors. The charges were later dropped in a plea agreement that permitted Bieber’s record company and a management company to plead guilty to fire code violations, as well as reimburse Nassau County almost $8,000.
The agreement also called for Bieber to record the anti-cyberbullying public service announcement video.
During the 11-minute video introduced by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, whose office negotiated the plea deal, Bieber speaks to a Long Island high school student about her experiences with cyberbullying. An attorney also offers definitions on cyberbullying, sexting and other offenses and warns teens they could be subject to criminal prosecutions if they are caught.
“The Internet can be used as a place to have a greater positive impact on the world,” Bieber tells viewers. “The Web should be used to inspire others, not spread hate or hurt.”
Rice said after the plea agreement was released that both the record company’s and Bieber’s management “have learned from this incident, and since the Roosevelt Field appearance, have successfully implemented carefully executed safety plans at other venues.”
Rice also announced that a website had been established for students to seek help on cyberbullying and other issues.
A spokesman for Bieber did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.
By Michael P. Orsi
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