It's all me, Bieber says of CK photos
POP star Justin Bieber hit back yesterday at speculation about airbrushed images of himself in a new Calvin Klein ad campaign - by posting a photo showing him wearing only a towel.
The Instagram photo was accompanied by a simple but cheeky caption: "Photoshop lol."
Elle magazine had sent out a news alert earlier that seemed designed to put the first big controversy of this year to rest: "Justin Bieber's team officially confirms the size of his bulge."
Yes, the subject of whether crucial body parts of this 20-year-old pop singer had been digitally enhanced in the Calvin Klein underwear photos was the talk of the Twitter universe last week, shortly after the first images of those ads surfaced, including on Bieber's Instagram account.
The controversy was fuelled by website BreatheHeavy.com, which seemed to have got its hands on an "unretouched" picture from the photo shoot by fashion photographers Mert and Marcus, showing a decidedly less muscular Bieber and missing the trail of body hair leading down to his filled-out boxer briefs.
The news was quickly jumped on by both fans and nonfans of the young singer - among them Rhea Durham, wife of Mark Wahlberg, perhaps the best known of the former Calvin Klein underwear models, and whose own photo shoot from 1992 was a direct inspiration for the new campaign. Ms Durham tweeted: "My baby was the 1st and the best. And not to mention, wow, the retouching "
The photos, some of which feature model Lara Stone wrapped seductively around Bieber, quickly became an Internet meme and were the subject of dozens of parodies, including one by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who posted an image of her head superimposed on Stone's body.
But all good things must soon come to an end, and the Bieber team went into action, insisting that the photos had not been altered in any way, and demanding that BreatheHeavy take down the disputed image and issue a retraction.
The website did that, issuing this statement: "Because BreatheHeavy is not about making anyone feel bad or intentionally stirring the pot (and are definitely not here for lawsuits), we shall retract the story per request. Bieber denies the photo is real, and I respect that and will believe him."