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In defense of Justin Bieber: The poor kid just needs a break

Arielle Tschinkel is a pop culture junkie who went to NYU because the Olsen twins went to NYU (really). She is an entertainment writer whose work has also been featured on Bustle, Hollywood.com, EpicThings and many others; and she's livi...

Even Beliebers will admit that Justin Bieber needs a break from the spotlight

According to a report by TMZ, Justin Bieber got into a fistfight outside his hotel in downtown Cleveland last night. The report included a video from a bystander of the alleged brawl, showing Bieber enmeshed in the scuffle with an unnamed man. TMZ reports, "Several people were standing nearby and tried to jump in, but the fight ends up spilling to the ground. It's unclear what started the scrap. Bieber was in town for Game 3 of the NBA Finals, and was wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers shirt... so it could be postgame trash talk."

More: Why is Justin Bieber wearing a pacifier?

For his part, Bieber seemingly responded to the report with a now-deleted Instagram shot — a selfie that he captioned: "Not a scratch on this pretty boy."

He certainly seems to be making light of whatever went down in Cleveland. But here's the thing: He needs to step away from the spotlight for a pretty extended amount of time, and he needs to do it quickly. Bieber's behavior has been erratic for years now, which I've always chalked up to his being young and thrust in the spotlight very early (yep, I even defended him after the pee bucket incident too!). But lately, things are on a completely different level, and I think something is going on with him beyond just normal "teen star" growing pains.

More: Justin Bieber needs a vacation

It certainly seemed that Bieber was on a good path as of late. His recent album, Purpose, managed to win over even the most ardent Bieber skeptics, and suddenly it became cool to admit you liked his music. He seemed to be showing some semblance of self-awareness, apologizing for his questionable actions and vowing to grow as a person. But as of late, there's something not right with Bieber, and I cannot understand why the people around him aren't seeing it.

His most recent performance at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards was lackluster, to say the least, but only because he seemed completely disinterested in being there or performing at all. Recent videos from his Purpose tour show someone who appears pretty unexcited to be onstage... a far cry from the Bieber I saw at a sold-out show in Madison Square Garden in 2012, who sang and danced his heart out with an omnipresent smile across his face. In fact, he's reportedly been crying onstage. If this doesn't scream out as a literal cry for help, I'm not sure what does.

More: What the heck is going on with Justin Bieber lately?

Then there was the cancellation of his meet-and-greets that fans paid plenty of money to get, due to being "exhausted to the point of depression." And lest we forget the no-photos rule for fans that came after his bizarre behavior in Boston, walking around barefoot and talking to pigeons (really!).

I'm not a mental health expert, but these are all pretty obvious signs that Bieber is worn out by being a pop star at the moment, and it's truthfully in his best interest to step aside from the spotlight for a long time. It seems he has plenty of things that he needs to work through privately, and this is more than just bratty 22-year-old stuff. This is a person who appears to be incredibly exhausted and unhappy, and in need of some help.

Beliebers will understand and will welcome him and his music back whenever he's ready, if that's what he decides is right for him.

Before you go, check out our slideshow below!

Even Beliebers will admit that Justin Bieber needs a break from the spotlight

Image: Dave Bedrosian/Future Image/WENN

What do you think? Should Justin Bieber take a very long break from the music industry? Weigh in, in the comments below!

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