Update: Justin Bieber has apologized for his pretend pregnancy announcement prank on April Fools’ Day, which was deemed insensitive to those struggling with infertility. After calling himself a “prankster” and “Dennis the Menace,” the singer said he “didn’t at all mean to be insensitive to people who can’t have children.” He also told a story about upsetting his little sister, Jazmyn, by pranking her — with cake to her face — on her birthday. “You sometimes just don’t know what will hurt someone’s feelings,” he wrote, before adding, “not to compare pregnancy with cake in the face but it’s just to paint the picture of not knowing what will offend.” While Bieber was “sorry,” he also noted that some people will be offended no matter what and “with pranks u sometimes have to roll that dice.”
In honor of April Fools’ Day Monday, Justin Bieber posted a sonogram to Instagram to trick some fans into thinking that he and wife Hailey Baldwin are having a baby. And while the post got comments from the likes of Ludacris and Ellen DeGeneres, it’s also catching some heat from fans who say pregnancy is no laughing matter.
Bieber, who married Baldwin last summer, has been criticized for being insensitive to those dealing with infertility and child loss.
“You should know that copying a Google Image and posting it is very cruel!” read one comment. “I know your [sic] not at a mature state of mind yet to know the struggles and pains a lot of people suffer … from infertility and child loss. But faking a pregnancy is not a joke or prank. It shows that your [sic] still immature, insensitive and [have a] lack of moral character to your fans. I pray one day you will understand that life is precious and what may be funny to you is sometimes the heartache, tears and gut-wrenching fear that others have endured when people like you mock what should be a precious moment!”
“F***ing horrible!” another commenter wrote. “I’m so d**n angry about this. Pregnancy isn’t a joke and for someone who lives around women who aren’t able to [get] pregnant and someone who is close with someone who’s experienced miscarriages, this makes me so d**n pissed off that someone with such a big fanbase has done this. Ever think about the women and men you’ve hurt by this joke?”
“So not f***ing funny,” added a disappointed follower. “Faking pregnancy is not an April Fools’ [joke] as lots of people struggle to conceive.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” chided another commenter, who cited stats about infertility and miscarriage. “Joking about being pregnant and thinking you’re absolutely hilarious … The only ‘fool’ here is you! I hope you never have to go through this yourself, but if you ever do, know that people will actually be respectful towards you.”
“Absolutely one of the most mindless things to do,” read another comment. “There [are] people in the world that can’t have children. It’s not a joke to be played. Total low blow!”
The singer’s loyal Beliebers, however, pushed back against the criticism, telling upset commenters to “scroll past.”
“Gosh some people just can’t get a joke,” a fan responded to the backlash, prompting a critic to reply, “Well when you struggle with getting pregnant it’s not so funny … Would you think it would be fun if someone made a joke on having, say, like cancer?”
Bieber later posted a doctored sonogram featuring a photo of a dog, sparking this response from his own mother.
“Ha ha. Happy #AprilFools,” wrote Pattie Mallette, who was just 17 when she gave birth to the singer. “I’m always on guard and ready for you today. I’m SO looking forward to the day y’all bringing me babies that are ‘GRAND’! You’re going to make BEAUTIFUL children and be GREAT parents when the time comes!! Maybe just don’t call me Grandma. Or Nana. or Nanny. Or … OK I DON’T KNOW IF I”M READY!”
Mallette’s comment prompted some critics to turn on her.
“You should teach your son not to joke about pregnancy,” a commenter told her. “Some people struggle to conceive and it’s so insensitive to joke about this subject. All in the name of April [Fools’].”
“How can a mother condone laughing at infant loss?” another follower asked her.
Bieber could have taken a cue from former Bachelor star Arie Luyendyk Jr., who faced similar backlash after joking last April Fools’ Day that he and fiancée Lauren Burnham were expecting. Luyendyk apologized for the prank, though the couple is now actually having their first child.
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