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Home > Spotlight
 
Justin left high and dry

Amanda Fisher and
Amira Agarib / 6 May 2013

Dubai authorities made a “special rule” allowing underage Justin Bieber into a top nightclub, but the pop sensation promptly left after being denied alcohol, performing an ‘illegal’ car manoeuvre on his way out, according to the club.

Bieber, in town for concerts on Saturday night and last night, left club Movida, located in the Radisson Royal Hotel along Shaikh Zayed Road, in dramatic fashion about 2.15am on Friday morning, surfing on the rooftop of an SUV as it rode away, club manager Richard Haddon said.

“There were a lot of people who were outside (watching)...he obviously knows how to get publicity.”

In accordance with Dubai traffic laws, riding an SUV is an offence. But a Dubai police official denied knowledge of the incident involving the singer at the nightclub and his alleged stunt on the road, which he said was a violation. “Laws are applicable to all residents and visitors; only residents can obtain an alcohol licence,” he said.

Most clubs do not ask for proof of age, the police official said and confirmed that 21 was the minimum drinking age in bars, nightclubs and restaurants.

Haddon said while he did not witness Justin’s manoeuvre, and could not comment on how dangerous it was, he “wouldn’t recommend it” to other patrons.

The 19-year-old, who is two years too young to enter clubs or drink alcohol, in line with Dubai rules, has been implicated in a string of unfavourable incidents in recent months, including repeatedly playing concerts late — again beginning his first Dubai show two hours late, prompting concerns from some parents — trying to smuggle a capuchin monkey into Germany, and getting photographed smoking what appears to be marijuana.

Bieber arrived in Movida about 1.30am with an entourage of about 20, including his security, Haddon said, and seemed in good spirits.

“He enjoyed himself.”

Haddon said Bieber had spent some time in the middle of the club as he walked through to use the washroom.

“The crowd loved it, normally with celebrities they tend to go straight to the (VIP) table.”

However, he did not interact with other club-goers, as “he had four decent-sized security guards around him all night,” Haddon said.

Movida, which also has a club in London renowned for drawing in A-list celebrities, had attracted big names such as 50-Cent, Usher and Nicki Minaj to the Dubai club in the year it had been open, he said.

Haddon would not reveal which authority had given the exemption, though he said it was the first time such a move had ever been taken by Movida.

When contacted, the Dubai Municipality and Dubai Events and Promotion Establishment also denied being the authority that had authorised the move.

“Part of the stipulation was (Bieber) wasn’t allowed to consume alcohol...and that was the reason why in the end he left,” Haddon said.

Bieber had started off on soft drinks, but left after three quarters of an hour when he was denied alcohol.

“It was a bit of a surprise (he left). The rest of the people in his group were all over 21 and they were drinking.”

Haddon said Bieber’s management, who appeared to be trying to keep the increasingly volatile teen heartthrob on a “short leash”, were made aware of the no-alcohol policy well in advance of the evening.

“He’s obviously one of those people who his management don’t find easy to control.”

Haddon said celebrity appearances were organised through contacts in concert promotion, with Movida cornering the “celebrity market” in Dubai.

“Whenever they’re bringing big stars into town, they generally let us know in advance if they’re looking to party.”

A spokeswoman for Done Events, the company looking after Bieber’s Dubai trip, said she could not comment on his antics outside the show.

“Anything he did he did was on his own accord.”

It would be difficult to tell the songster to avoid going out while in Dubai, “because he’s Justin Bieber”, but the company would have given him advice to avoid hot water had he asked, she said.

“We obviously can’t control him and if he wants to go out and sightsee we can guide him in the general direction...but things like clubbing etc, we don’t promote and we didn’t offer for him to do that.

“He is free to do what he wants.”

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