Stephanie Schwartz|Apr 1, 2013

We’ve all heard the phrase, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” but is there truth behind this saying?

We don’t need to look much further than the coverage around pop megastar Justin Bieber’s arrest, scandalous behavior and deposition video. Because he is a celebrity, many are intrigued by his actions and can’t stop watching to see what he will do next. The day of his arrest alone, Bieber gained more than 30,000 Twitter followers.

At first glance, it may seem like the publicity is not damaging his brand, but we must look at the long-term effects. Sure, Bieber gained thousands of Twitter followers, but most of those people are not true “Beliebers” and only started following him out of curiosity and fascination. Soon, the fascination may turn to irritation, as he continues on this downward spiral, and the publicity may become destructive to his career and life.

The negative coverage from his arrest drove more than 200,000 people to sign a petition to deport Bieber and revoke his U.S. green card. The publicity also sparked the Olympics billboard in Chicago that featured a photo of Bieber between an American and Canadian hockey player that said “LOSER KEEPS BIEBER.”

Undeniably, once publicity causes damage, it turns to “bad publicity.”

How about Lindsay Lohan? For years, Lohan has been receiving attention for her multiple arrests and battles with rehab. Initially, we were interested in watching the “Parent Trap” sweetheart act out, but then we were turned off by her repeated, toxic actions. The publicity turned Lohan into a joke in the film industry, making it tough to book a gig. She has also lost major endorsement deals from clothing brands like Jill Stuart and Odaingerous. The long-term damage is evident with Lohan going from Hollywood movies like “Mean Girls” to doing reality shows for the OWN network.

Charlie Sheen’s erratic behavior was not #winning anything for the actor. Because of his public rants and substance abuse, Sheen managed to set a Guinness World Record for “fastest time to reach 1 million followers” when he joined Twitter in 2011. However, these “fans” were short-lived as Sheen’s antics escalated and the media continued to scrutinize him. The bad publicity even led to Sheen losing the highest-paid acting job in television with “Two and a Half Men” and an endorsement deal with Hanes.

Sheen was able to start repairing his career when he began starring in the FX show “Anger Management.” However, this job may also be in jeopardy. According to, Sheen was told by FX network executives to “tone down the negative rhetoric towards ex-wife Denise Richards because it was getting so much negative publicity.” (His on set absences haven’t helped either.)

Looking at these precedents, it’s unclear what the future may hold for Bieber, but as they say: What goes up must come down.

What do you think: Is there such thing as bad publicity?


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