Justin Bieber is all about his personal space.
While in Australia for a leg of his Purpose World Tour, the 23-year-old Grammy winner was approached by a female fan looking to take a selfie on the street. During the encounter, which was filmed and shared on the Internet, the singer rebuffed her request, telling her, "Look at your respect level. Look at you—you make me sick." In one swift move, he took a bite of some food he was holding and got into his car.
"He was being really rude," Melbourne fan Sabah Helal recalled during an interview on Nova 969. "I took the photo anyway because I thought when am I going to have this moment in my life?"
While it may have been an off day for the singer, his social media continues to tell a different narrative when it comes to the mood of his interactions with his fans.
A few days before the altercation, Bieber took to his Instagram account with photos of himself embracing his fans with hugs and smiles, a far cry from his interaction with Helal. "Let's hug each other more," he encouraged his followers in a caption. Perhaps the Biebs should take his own advice?
After the brief dispute, the star seemed to go into digital damage control, uploading more photos of himself welcoming his fans, including a throwback shot of himself shaking hands with a young girl on the beach.
Backgrid AU / AKM-GSI
While the snub seems harsh, the singer previously publicly declared that he doesn't want to take pictures with fans because it makes him feel like a zoo animal.
"If you happen to see me out somewhere know that I'm not gonna take a picture I'm done taking pictures," he wrote on Instagram in May 2016. "It has gotten to the point that people won't even say hi to me or recognize me as a human, I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity."
"I realize people will be disappointed but I don't owe anybody a picture. and people who say 'but I bought ur album' know that you got my album and you got what you paid for AN ALBUM! It doesn't say in the fine print whenever you see me you also get a photo," he concluded.
The attention he receives continues to be a touchy subject for the star. In late October during his ongoing world tour, Bieber seemed a bit frustrated with his fans' reluctance to listen to him speak in between songs. While he tried to chat, attendees continued to scream. "I don't mind cutting the bulls--t because I don't need to talk. I'm just trying to engage, but if you guys don't want to do that then we can just play the music," he told the packed audience.
It was one in a string of pleas he made to fans to calm down. "Can you guys do me a favor? Can you guys just relax for like two seconds?" Bieber asked an audience in England. "I get it, I get it, but I'm like two feet away from you and I can hear you. I appreciate it. I appreciate all the love, it's amazing. But can you show it in a different way? Just try to show you love me in a different way. Screaming is just so obnoxious."
While he certainly doesn't mince words, it seems Bieber is treading a thin line between wanting to connect with his fans and protecting his own limits.
you think setting boundaries is being a douche I'm the biggest douche around but I think it's smart and will be the only way I last," he previously wrote on Instagram. "I wanna enjoy life and not be a slave to the world and their demands of what they think I need to do!!"
What do you think about Bieber's approach to his fans? Sound off in the comments.