Justin Bieber decision to personally, and forthrightly, deny paternity claims has quickly turned the tide of negative publicity in his favor as more details emerged about the unstable nature of his accuser Mariah Yeater.
The 20-year-old California woman touched off a media firestorm by filing a court claim that Bieber fathered her infant son during an alleged quickie tryst backstage following an Oct. 2010 concert in Los Angeles.
Beiber’s tepid initial response, he neither confirmed nor denied the charges, only added fuel to the fire.
He only said he was going to “ignore the rumors,” as if they involved someone other than himself.
Yeater’s lawyers were quick to seize on the point. “It is noteworthy that Justin Bieber himself has not denied the fundamental fact that he had unprotected sex with Mariah Yeater following a concert in Los Angeles,” they said.
But Bieber quickly turned things around during an interview on NBC’s Today Show. The segment looked like it had been set up just to give the teen sensation a chance to answer the charges publicly.
“I’d just like to say basically that none of those allegations are true. I know I’m going to be a target, but I’m never going to be a victim,” Bieber told Matt Lauer.
“It’s crazy, every night after the show I’ve gone right from the stage right to my car, so it’s crazy some people want to make up such false allegations.
“But to set the record straight, none of it is true. Never met the woman,” he said.
The forceful denial, a strategy that backfired on President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, was followed by reports that he will take a DNA paternity test.
Finally a show of support from girlfriend Selena Gomez seemed to ice the public relations coup. The two appeared close at the MTV European Music Awards over the weekend.
Meanwhile, new reports that Yeater initially accused her ex-boyfriend of being the baby daddy cast fresh doubts on her claim that Bieber is the father.
According to her sworn affidavit, she said no one else could have possibly been the father.
Yeater had been dating school mate John Terranova in Las Vegas, the boy’s grandmother Frances Lippe told gossip site TMZ.
Terranova heatedly denied fathering the child and the ensuing argument led to charges against Yeater for assault.
That coupled with reports that Yeater is unemployed with a high school education, suggests her efforts may be financially motivated.
Of course, Bieber’s short term public relations gain could quickly blow up in his face, if it turns out the baby is his, or he pays off Yeater with a settlement topped by a confidentiality agreement.
If that happens, his career could implode faster than Chris Brown’s.
But for the moment, the heat is off the singer.