Unless you've been consciously avoiding the Internet, you've heard that two videos of Justin Bieber using racial slurs and telling racist jokes were recently released. Bieber has since apologized for the videos and whether or not you take his apology seriously or care about Bieber and his potential racism at all, the way the videos were released is pretty interesting. According to Gawker, TMZ has been blackmailing Justin Bieber with the videos for years. This is surprising news seeing as TMZ also reported that Bieber had been blackmailed for years... just not by TMZ themselves.
In a post about the second Bieber video, TMZ wrote, "Bieber and his team say various people have tried to extort him over the last few years — demanding money for both this video and the one he made when he was 15." You would think "various people" wouldn't include the website reporting the information, but allegedly it does.
As Gawker explains the situation, TMZ has had access of the video for years but has put off publishing it in order to "extort appearances and call-ins from Bieber ever since." Once The Sun released the first video, TMZ decided to post their own copy saying, "TMZ got this video 4 years ago but we decided not to post it ... in large part because he was 15 and immediately told his friends what he did was stupid."
But a former TMZ employee told Gawker that isn't the case. "TMZ has been sitting on this video for 3+ years and have been using it as essentially ransom so that Bieber and his team would cooperate with them and give them scoops." This would explain why Bieber appeared on the show when he was 16 even though he was already a huge star. Footage of that appearance adds to the suspicion with Bieber claiming he just decided to stop by the show after running into TMZ founder Harvey Levin outside.
TMZ says that someone who worked on one of Bieber's video projects stole a copy of the racist joke footage which they tried to use to extort Bieber for $1 million. After this, TMZ reported, "Justin says he will not be shaken down anymore. He says he wants people to see the video and he wants to accept responsibility."
If TMZ really did use the video to get Bieber to appear on the show, that still goes along with their story. (Well, except for the part about Bieber happening to run in to Levin outside of the TMZ offices.) It would make sense that Bieber would decide to stop backing down if he ended up with at least two separate entities attempting extortion. Still, this may not be the end of the cycle of videos and apologies for Bieber. Page Six reports that there are 15 to 20 more minutes of controversial video available.