While Justin Bieber was cited by Los Angeles highway patrol for reaching speeds over 80 mph on Friday, it was soon revealed his “reckless” behavior was the result of photographers tailing his chrome Fisker Karma on the 101 Freeway. Many on the scene reportedly dialed 911, including L.A. Councilman Dennis Zine, who claimed Bieber deserved to be arrested for his behavior. With many drawing similarities to Princess Diana’s fatal car chase in 1997, LA96.3 FM aired the audio from Bieber’s 911 call—perhaps in effort to further prove the severity of Hollywood’s paparazzi culture, or to show Beliebers how calm their man can be under pressure—in which he explains his location, situation and fake last name (“Johnson”—he’s really partial to that one, isn’t he?).
“I was going to go fast so I could lose these people and then I got pulled over and the police told me that if they kept following me to call in,” Bieber explained, when an operator asked for confirmation that he was in fact that lunatic weaving in and out of traffic on one of L.A.’s busiest highways. “They’re the ones that are driving reckless and… I’m just trying to like not have them be on my tail right now.” There are a few personal nuggets to be gleaned from this emergency call as well: Bieber considers himself “new” to Los Angeles, can’t pronounce “Alameda” (“Yeah, I’m not from L.A…”), doesn’t know his own phone number and was headed “to work” on Friday morning—most likely the set of his upcoming “short film” accompaniment to Believe‘s “As Long As You Love Me.”
It’s a little shocking that emergency calls can last this long. Bieber remains on the line for over 15 minutes, managing to be polite with each person he speaks with (“And you want someone to come assist you to stop them from following you?” “I would love that”) while opting to vent his frustrations about the whole experience to lucky operator number two. “He let all those paparazzi around my vehicle while he was doing that citation,” Bieber says of the police officer who initially pulled him over. A little over a month after his similarly scary situation with a photographer, it makes sense he has a lot to say on the subject:
This is crazy! Crazy, because before—like now they’re following me—but before I was driving fast so I could try to get away from them and I got pulled over myself, I mean that’s the craziest thing ever. And when I tried to explain it to the police officers they were being very not nice about it, they were just like, “Well you wave your right to privacy when she says you’re a celebrity.” That makes absolutely no sense when they’re the ones like..I know I’m driving fast but they’re the ones being dangerous.
Bieber’s since filed a formal harassment complaint against the photographers who were tailing him, but we hope bouquets of flowers, or at least friendly thank you tweets, to the highway patrol operators who served as both his saviors and temporary therapists for the day are on their way.