Justin Bieber refused service at a West Hollywood Starbucks because he was shirtless? Really!?! Those of us who live in West Hollywood quickly dismissed the story that went viral when it was posted Sunday on the Empire Sports website, which appears to be out of commission. After all, it’s much more likely that if Bieber had shown up shirtless at what is popularly known as the Big Gay Starbucks (BGS), he not only wouldn’t have been thrown out, he would have been offered table service by starstruck baristas.
The Empire Sports story quotes a fictional Joey Goldsmith, identified as a Starbucks barista, as saying Bieber “came in with no shirt on and his pants hanging down and underwear showing and tried to order a caramel apple machiatto. I just told him he would have to put a shirt on if he wanted to order.”
Then, the story claims, Bieber screamed and yelled and demanded that his bodyguard assault the barista. And as if it couldn’t get more incredible, Empire Sports claims LA Clippers star Blake Griffin was sitting nearby and interceded, smacking Bieber to the ground.
The story has provoked hundreds of comments on Twitter, most praising Griffin for the alleged assault. And it was quickly republished by dozens of scurrilous gossip websites, many of which now are retracting it. As for Empire Sports, in its defense (sort of), it did label the story “news satire.” It appears to have taken the story (and perhaps the entire website) down, although an archived version of it can be found online. Bieber, by the way, was in Atlanta when the incident reportedly occurred, taking a break from the out of control behavior he has exhibited in the past in Southern California, which gave the Empire Sports story an aura of truth. Those actions and others have led more than 100,000 people to sign a petition demanding that the Canadian citizen be deported.
We can’t promise the gay guys who congregate at the Starbucks at Santa Monica Boulevard and Westmount that they won’t be asked to slip back into a shirt when they order a coffee. But we are quite certain that the barista who makes that request will do it reluctantly, and with a smile.