Australian police were forced to cancel one of Justin Bieber’s promotional performances outside a television station after pandemonium in the gathering crowd led to eight fans being crushed and taken to the hospital. According to reports, Bieber was scheduled to perform three songs for the Channel Seven program Sunrise, but safety concerns made it necessary to move the performance indoors as hordes of teenage girls roughly 4,000 strong descended outside the studio as early as 3 a.m. The attendees forced their way past safety barriers, causing several fans to be crushed in the melee and dozens more “Biebettes” to be treated on the scene for hyperventilation. The Sydney Morning Herald has footage of the scene outside the Channel Seven studio as Australian police admitted they “underestimated” Bieber fever.
“I want to make this clear… I don’t cancel… I woke up this morning to the police canceling the show for safety reasons,” Bieber told fans via Twitter. “I’m very happy about the welcome and the love from around the world, but I want everyone to still remember my fans safety comes first. At the end of the day I want you all to enjoy the music.” Police blamed the lack of parents in the crowd for the chaos. “There were a number of parents down there [but] I would question why there weren’t a larger number of parents,” deputy police commissioner Dave Owens said. “We had 12, 13 and 14-year olds [alone] at 3 and 4 a.m. in the morning. They were being crushed up against the barrier.”
The incident is reminiscent of Bieber’s canceled CD signing and performance at Long Island, New York’s Roosevelt Field mall in November 2009, where a surge in the crowd of 3,000 fans led to aggressive shoving and a handful of injures. (According to ABC News, one girl even had to be tasered by police after starting fights.) Like the incident in Australia, police blamed a lack of parents in the crowd as a cause of the commotion. As Rolling Stone previously reported in March, Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun was charged for inciting the chaos on Long Island (via Twitter) as well as not assisting police efforts to disperse the crowd. Braun’s lawyer told RS his client tweeted to halt the growing mob of fans as quickly as he could: “It could only have been faster if Scooter had a Superman cape.”