In an unexpected act of contrition, Justin Bieber has apologized for mishandling the Argentine flag at his Saturday concert in Buenos Aires. Shortly after his show, video surfaced online depicting the singer kicking the flag and using his mic stand to wipe it off the stage in a mop-like fashion until stagehands took it away.
In nine tweets posted yesterday, the 19-year-old expressed remorse for his actions. “I don’t like having to defend myself but this time it was needed as I mean no disrespect,” he wrote at one point, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As The Associated Press notes, disgracing the country’s flag could land someone four years in prison.
“Heard about what is going on with me down in Argentina and I’m shocked,” he wrote in four tweets beginning close to midnight yesterday. “I love Argentina and have had some of the best shows of my tour there. People throw stuff on my stage all show and I get it to the stage hands to get off so no one got hurt. That video I saw a bra and thought it was a shirt. I’m being told by my team it was a shirt, but even if it was a flag, I would never do anything to disrespect Argentina or the people of Argentina or the fans. I’m so sorry for anyone who took my actions the wrong way and I hope you can forgive this mistake.”
Controversy has followed the young star on this South American tour since he arrived on the continent last month. In Brazil, policemen charged him with spray-painting graffiti on a wall, an offense that, if convicted, could find Bieber serving up to a year in prison. While still in Brazil, a woman videotaped him sleeping in a hotel room. He also ended a Brazilian concert early when a concertgoer threw a plastic bottle at him.
During his time in Argentina, paparazzi followed him to nightclubs and captured Bieber’s bodyguards rushing someone, allegedly Bieber, whose head was shrouded with a black sheet into a van filled with what the AP described as “young girls.” He also cut another show short while in the country, this time, blaming food poisoning.
Meanwhile, Argentine police sought out Bieber’s bodyguards after they allegedly assaulted a nightclub’s house photographer. He in turn obtained a court order that would prevent the guards from leaving the country. The photographer claimed Bieber approved of the assault. Upon learning that police were looking to question them, the entourage allegedly relocated to a gated community. Although no updates have been issued on this matter, Bieber went on to perform in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday.
Bieber is scheduled to play two nights in Mexico City beginning on November 18th, which will mark the end of his South and Central American tour. He will then tour New Zealand and Australia in the rest of November and December.