Justin Bieber attended the engagement ceremony of his father Jeremy to long-term girlfriend Chelsey Rebelo in Toronto on 30 April. The private ceremony, which doubled up as an art event, featured fictional superheroes, the Batmobile, and a live Royal Bengal tiger.
However, soon after the 22-year-old shared images from the event – wherein he can be seen petting the tiger – on Instagram, he received some major backlash.
Bieber's close-up with the big cat clearly did not go down well with his fans. One user criticised the singer for not treating the exotic animal appropriately and wrote: "Hey Justin Bieber, Tigers are abused to make them submissive. Be cool & condemn the way they are treated."
Some even mocked the Baby singer for his photo-op with the animal and said, "So Justin Bieber was hungover this morning, then later he gets to go pet a tiger. What a CHILL hangover cure."
Another user, poking fun at the singer, tweeted, "Justin Bieber's life is so casual. One minute he's posting about his haircut. Next minute he's petting a tiger. It's fine."
While most fans were enraged with the image posted by the singer-performer, Bieber's fans unfailingly supported their idol through thick and thin. One Twitter user wrote, people using the exotic animals as a display object are equally guilty.
Another argued that since it was an art show, the tiger was present, "which has got nothing to do with the Baby hitmaker".
Animal rights group Peta objected to the pictures of the What Do You Mean singer with the leashed animal. In a letter sent to Bieber explaining the perils of such a "cruel and dangerous" photo-op, Peta urged others as well to prohibit from such indulgences.
Lisa Lange, Senior Vice President of PETA said in a statement: "Justin Bieber is lucky not to have had his throat torn out by this stressed captive tiger."