January 8, 2013 15:34
Charity calls out 'dangerous' joke encouraging Justin Bieber fans to self harm
The joke hashtag #cutforbieber is believed to have been taken seriously by a small minority of fans
A Twitter joke encouraging Justin Bieber fans to cut themselves in protest against the singer's alleged drug use has been criticised by a UK children's charity.
The hashtags #cutforbieber and #cuttingforbieber started trending on Twitter after internet message board community 4Chan started spreading the meme as a joke. However, a small minority of fans are believed to have taken the hashtag seriously, posting pictures of themselves in which they appear to be cutting themselves for real.
Now YoungMinds, a British charity that aims to improve the mental health of young people, has labelled the joke "irresponsible, reprehensible and extremely dangerous". Representative Lucie Russell told The Independent: "Self harming is not a fashion, fad or statement. It's a signal that young people are experiencing extreme distress and need help. Cutting is a self-destructive act that is a way of coping with overwhelming emotions."
Continuing, the charity representative warned: "To suggest young people cut themselves as some kind of protest is a very perverted and dangerous idea, and these people need to take responsibility and stop this activity immediately."
US gossip website TMZ recently posted pictures obtained from an anonymous source which supposedly show Bieber "clutching a smouldering blunt" while at a party in a hotel room in Newport Beach, California.
After the photos were published, Bieber took to Twitter to speak directly to his fans in a series of emotional tweets. He tweeted:
everyday growing and learning. trying to be better. u get knocked down, u get up.— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) January 5, 2013
The photos were allegedly taken the day after a photographer was killed trying to take a picture of Bieber's white Ferrari. Since the accident, Justin Bieber has called for tougher laws involving paparazzi photographers.
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