The new issue of Rolling Stone magazine raised eyebrows for a number of reasons. Not only does it feature a cover image of teen dream Justin Bieber with his signature mop top teased up into spikes, but the accompanying interview has the controversy-shy 16-year-old "Never Say Never" singer weighing in on a number of contentious topics, including abortion.
When RollingStone.com posted excerpts from the cover story on Tuesday, it initially left out a key phrase that is included in the print edition of the mag that slightly misrepresented Bieber's feelings on sex, pregnancy and abortion.
In the article, the writer states that Bieber is "definitely" against abortion, quoting him as saying, "I really don't believe in abortion. ... I think [an embryo] is a human. It's like killing a baby." When the writer asks if that also refers to incidents of rape, Bieber replies, "Um ... well I think that's just really sad. ..."
By Wednesday, the site added this explanation: "Due to an editing error, this rollingstone.com news item originally included an incomplete quote from our Justin Bieber cover story. The actual quote, which appears in full in the March 3 print edition of Rolling Stone, reads: 'Um. Well, I think that's really sad [referring to abortion], but everything happens for a reason. I don't know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that.' For the record: Bieber was quoted correctly by writer Vanessa Grigoriadis in her feature."
The original version of the quote that appeared online did not contain the phrase "I don't know how that would be a reason."
Grigoriadis spoke to Popeater.com on Thursday about the backlash against Bieber's quotes about rape, which the story seemed to imply he thinks "happens for a reason."
"I think he meant that God has a plan," the writer told the site. "Even for the most die-hard Christian, it's hard to justify rape as part of God's plan, and harder to justify rape that leads to pregnancy and abortion. I think he was wrestling with that in his answer, which I found to be solid and logical. I think it is being widely misunderstood. He did not say that rape was part of God's plan."
Asked whether Bieber was mature for his age, Grigoriadis agreed with something Bieber's manager said about his famous client. "Scooter Braun was right when he said to me that Justin sometimes seems like a 16-year-old going on 14 and other times like a 16-year-old going on 32," she said, adding that she thought it was fair game to ask the singer about such topics as premarital sex, abortion and politics because of the cultural impact Bieber has had in his short time in the public eye.
"I think that anyone who has as much sway in popular culture as Justin should be asked all questions," she said. "I agree that he does not bring up these issues in his work at the moment, but it's possible that he will in the future, as he decides that he wants the public to know more about him."
Do you think Justin Bieber's views on serious issues like abortion and sex matter? Sound off in the comments!