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MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 18: Justin Bieber performs at AmericanAirlines Arena on December 18, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
Justin Bieber, not known for taking controversial public stances on hot button issues, was nevertheless pulled into one of America's most divisive political debates all because of a spoof celebrity website.
Satirical website Celebjihad ran a fake story saying that the Canadian pop star had voiced his opinion about the controversial mosque that is scheduled to constructed near the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, reports Salon, and that his fictious remarks on the topic sparked critics to protest the "Baby" singer on Facebook.
In an interview alleged to have run in the teen mag Tiger Beat, Bieber reportedly said that people opposed to the mosque were bigots. There were also made up quotes from the mop-haired teen, such as : "I was like seven when September 11th went down, and frankly I'm surprised people are still going on about it. Move on, already!"
From there, the rumor picked up steam and a leading anti-mosque opponent, Andy Sullivan, started giving interviews saying that he would not allow his kids to listen to Bieber's music.
A Salon reporter, Justin Elliott, started looking for the initial interview that sparked off the controversy, and upon not finding it, he contacted Celebjihad, whose proprietor confirmed that the entire interview was made up.
"[T]he fact that some people take it seriously is hilariously depressing," the Celebjihad operator said via an e-mail interview with Elliott.