Justin Bieber Speaks Out Against Cyberbullying: 'I Was Picked On' (VIDEO)
Justin Bieber is joining the fight against cyberbullying — but it wasn't his idea.
The singer stars in a new PSA that warns against the harms of cyberbulling, a video produced by the Nassau County District Attorney's office as part of a plea agreement that settled a legal dispute involving members of Bieber's team.
"By now, we've all seen news reports of things that started out as jokes or private conversations that have ended up as headline news," Bieber says in the 11-minute clip. "Now I don't want to stop you from using the internet or connecting with each other online, but I want to make sure you're aware of what's going on out there and what you can do to stop yourself from making a small mistake that could follow you for the rest of your life or ruin someone else's."
"The internet can be used as a place to have a greater positive impact on the world," he continues. "There's a ton of positive initiatives online. The web should be used to inspire others, not spread hate or to hurt others."
What incident brought about Bieber's inspirational message?
The pop star's manager, Scooter Braun, and Island Def Jam Music Group executive James Roppo, were charged with misdemeanors in connection to a 2009 crowd-control incident at a mall in New York's Nassau County. After more than 3,000 Beliebers gathered in hopes of getting a glimpse of their idol, police ordered the event be canceled for safety concerns.
Nevertheless, Bieber tweeted, "On my way to Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, NY to sign and meet fans! I’m pumped. See u there." Record executives could not sign on to the account to send out a message calling off the event, because Braun had changed the password.
But instead of simple a pay-up settlement, the Nassau County district attorney, Kathleen M. Rice, decided to take advantage of Bieber's star power for the greater good. "I saw an opportunity for something innovative that would be a much larger benefit to the community than the companies just paying a few hundred dollars in fines," Rice said in a statement explaining the video, according to the New York Times. "Unusual cases often require innovative solutions and I think we were able to find one here."
"I was picked on," Bieber admits. "It's a tough feeling but at the end of the day you can get through it. There's always someone who can be there."
The PSA — which will be distributed on DVD to Nassau County schools — wraps up with a take-home message from the Grammy-winning superstar: "A voice is a powerful thing. A voice can change the world. And all it takes is a champion, a simple idea and the courage to demand a more ideal world.... Your voice can be a powerful agent of social good."