There are many different ways to approach a scandal, if you’re a public figure. You can “no comment” your way through it and hope people lose interest. Or you can deny, deny, deny. Justin Bieber and his team have chosen option B as the response to Mariah Yeater’s claims that he fathered her 3-month-old son. He told Today that he’d never even met Mariah, and he’s reportedly planning to take a DNA test to prove he’s not little Trystan’s father. We wondered why the Biebs would even deign to answer such claims, and we turned to Michael Fertik, founder and CEO of Reputation.com for his expert opinion on the matter.
“Between Wednesday and Thursday of last week, and again between Thursday and Friday of last week, you’ve had a doubling and another doubling of discussion about Justin Bieber on the Internet. A quadrupling in just four days,” Fertik explained. And that’s a good indication that the talk isn’t going to go away on its own. “The headlines are coming anyway. This topic is hot no matter what you say.”
By pledging to take a paternity test, Bieber is hoping that definitive evidence will finally shut the story down, Fertik says. “This test is a sign of confidence in his point of view. He says he never even met her. I think he’s like, let me just put this behind me and clearly indicate this is not who I am.”
Though this sort of claim is so prevalent among the rich and famous that there’s such a thing as paternity insurance, Bieber’s team has an even bigger interest than most in protecting his reputation. “They know that his brand is wholesome. They know that his brand is also young. If he’s 27, then he may not be taking a paternity test, but he’s 17. If you look at Wikipedia, B.B. King has fathered, like, 15 kids. If you’re on the other side of wholesome, it may actually enhance your brand.”
And while a negative DNA test should do wonders for this case, there is one danger for Bieber in the future. “What he’s done is he’s set himself up,” Fertik cautioned. “If he ever does hook up with someone and that person claims something and he does not take a paternity test, then there’s going to be some speculation as to why. Once you go DNA, you can’t go back.”
According to E!, Bieber’s lawyers are planning to sue Yeater for defamation once the results are in. But Fertik says they’ll likely just ask for her to withdraw her claims, not ask for money from the girl.
Still, Mariah’s lawyers sound pretty confident that they’ve got some kind of case here. Is there a chance that the test won’t even stop them? Fertik had one (slightly outdated) example, from 1943. “The big daddy of all of them is Charlie Chaplin. He agreed to take a blood test and the court denied the value of the blood test. He was forced to pay paternity for 18 years even though this woman was not his kid, definitively.” Be grateful you live in such modern times, Justin.
[Photos: Splash News Online, Getty Images]