Justin Bieber Accused of Battery -- Just More Publicity or a Sign of More to Come?

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Justin Bieber's Memorial Day weekend turned sour on Sunday afternoon. According to the Calabasas Sheriff's Department, the pop singer is a "person of interest" following reports of an alleged street skirmish between the Biebs and a photographer. Reports are that the altercation took place in the early afternoon when the photographer was attempting to get a photo of Bieber and his girlfriend, actress Selena Gomez.

The altercation was serious enough for the photographer to make an emergency 911 call and be taken away in an ambulance. Reports from the scene of the incident are that Justin had already taken off by the time police officers arrived to assess the situation. The Sheriff's Department has not officially called Bieber a suspect yet; however they did say that they'd be speaking with him about the fight.

This is now the second incident in about a month that involves the singer's squeaky-clean image being called into question. Last month, Bieber broke his silence on the paternity suit he was involved in last year that was quickly ushered out of court once the woman accusing the "Never Say Never" star of fathering her child recanted her story. Bieber then took to Twitter, taunting Mariah Yeater and posting a link to a YouTube video that further wagged his finger in her face.

So is Justin trying to grow his image up? Is he trying to get out from underneath his adolescent reputation, or is this a sign that he's heading down a darker path, and that we should all prepare for more and more stories like this to come out? After all, this is the second time in a relatively short period that it would appear he's involved in a situation that runs completely opposite to that first impression we all had of him. So which is it? Is he looking for more press, or is his persona and character actually changing, and we're seeing him grow into who he really is?

It's Just Publicity - Let's be honest here. Team Bieber has been acutely aware of the media's importance in positioning Justin for world domination. It's hard to imagine that anything with his name in it that involves the press wasn't at least in some way orchestrated. It's definitely a cynical view, but one that makes sense when you consider the machine working behind keeping his career going.

It's For Real - The flips-side of the "it's just for publicity" argument of course is that these kinds of stories might have the effect of turning off his fans who bought into his totally wholesome persona. It's completely plausible that Justin is evolving and maybe the pressure of keeping up the boy-next-door image is just too much, and some signs of fissure are appearing.

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