Jordan Knight of New Kids on the Block knows a thing or two about being a teen idol. Though he’s past his adolescent heartthrob years now, Knight knows how overwhelming that experience can be — and he thinks the media should just lay off Justin Bieber.
In the last month, Bieber has collapsed on stage in London, cancelled a show in Portugal, fought with a paparazzo, vented on Instagram (killing two birds with one stone by also managing to insult Lindsay Lohan in the same rant) and most recently, he was investigated on battery charges by the L.A. County Sheriff after an alleged assault on a neighbor.
Though the press has had a field day dissecting all his wacky behavior, Knight told Boston radio station Mix 104.1 that the “Baby” singer’s reaction to all the attention he’s been receiving is understandable. Who wouldn’t get angry over all the tabloid scrutiny?
While Knight wasn’t all that familiar with the details of everything that has happened, he did hear about Bieber’s altercation with a paparazzi after being released from the hospital. Knight acknowledged that photographers and people from sites like TMZ will provoke celebrities into situations that will elicit angry reactions.
“What they didn’t show was what the paparazzi was saying to him before he went in,” Knight said. “[TMZ] go around with their cameras and ask you stupid questions or something that will make you mad.”
Though it’s unfortunate that Bieber fell for it, Knight said it’s not surprising he would act out.
“For him to react that way is really only human,” he explained. “What is he 18, 19?”
Even the members of the New Kids had their problems with the paparazzi. In 1990, Donnie Wahlberg was accused of assaulting a photographer on a plane after he wouldn’t move from his seat, so it makes sense that Wahlberg came to Bieber’s defense last month.
Knight said that Bieber will likely learn from the mistakes he’s made, specially now that he’s seen the rise it gives the paparazzi.
“He has to go through it and see that there’s consequences,” he said. “Then he’ll change his behavior.”
(Additional reporting by Matt Dolloff, Mix 104.1)