Bieber Fever took over a Richmond laser tag facility this weekend after media rumours spread that teen pop star Justin Bieber was involved in an altercation there Friday night.
RCMP spokeswoman Corp. Annie Linteau would only confirm that the father of a 12-year-old boy reported that his son had been assaulted by another boy at around 5:30 p.m. at a “Richmond entertainment facility” and police are investigating.
“[The victim] sustained minimal injuries at the time and did not require medical attention,” said Linteau.
Because no charges have been laid and both youths are minors, no names have been released or will be released, according to Linteau.
But the blogs and gossip sites erupted with the news that Bieber, 16, was allegedly involved in the assault at Planet Lazer on Elmbridge Way in Richmond.
Bieber, who parlayed some viral music videos into a major label contract and massive recording sales, is in Vancouver to play a concert Tuesday at Rogers Arena.
Notorious celebrity gossip site TMZ reported on Friday’s incident and used photos from Canadian blogger Zack Taylor that purported to show Bieber, his father and the alleged victim at the facility.
ZackTaylor.ca got a comment from an anonymous staff member at the facility.
“The 12-year-old kid was surrounding Justin in the corner with his other little friends and shooting him during the game with their laser guns,” said the staff member. “Justin did what any other person would do during a laser tag game, and was just trying to get away from getting shot at and accidentally hit the kid while running away.
“The kid’s sister said he started crying because he was hit hard, but when we saw the boy there was no marks or anything,” the staffer told the website.
With a furor erupting and a police investigation under way, Planet Lazer declined to comment on the issue Sunday to The Province and would only respond via email: “No comment, as both parties are minors — although it is my opinion the matter is a non-issue.”
But anything is an issue when it involves Bieber, according to celebrity blogger Lainey Lui of CTV’s eTalk.
“We do live in a celebrity-driven culture and in the world of social media and Twitter and Facebook, where youth are driving the story more and more these days, he is their prince right now,” said Lui, whose blog is LaineyGossip.com.
“This is a story about the crown prince of a generation, at least for the next six months until somebody else comes along,” said Lui.
Lui said she hasn’t spoken to the victim or his family “but from what I hear from multiple sources, it was an innocuous incident.”
Dean Keach, 47, was at Planet Lazer Sunday morning for a birthday party and admitted to hearing about the frenzy over the Bieber incident.
“I think it’s crazy,” said the Richmond resident. “I think everything has gotten out of control. But then I’m old school.”
But the brouhaha over Bieber is just the latest instalment of interest in celebrities. Elvis Presley and the Beatles created a stir in their day, too.
“It happens so fast now,” said Keach. “Within minutes everything is on YouTube or it’s blogged or Tweeted.”
Laurene Holmes, 9, and twins Jake and Abby Johnston, 10, were surprised to hear Bieber had gone to the facility they were just about to visit.
But Holmes didn’t think an assault, if it happened, was right.
“That’s not the best thing at all,” she said.
Their friend Sheetal Goyal, 10, said accidents can happen in the dark corridors of inside Planet Lazer.
“You bump into people unknowingly,” said Goyal.
Bieber, who hails from Stratford, Ont., is notorious about sending out ‘tweets’ but there was nothing on his Twitter list or his official website about the Friday incident.