Massell and the Bieb.
Massell and the Bieb.

Sam Massell, former mayor of Atlanta and current president of the Buckhead Coalition, said pop star Justin Bieber would be welcome with “open arms” to the community after a radio station prank launched a fake protest by a fake organization called the Buckhead “Neighborhood” Coalition.

The protest call received global media attention, while a Facebook page encouraged people to meet on Monday morning at the corner of Roswell and Blackland roads to send a message that Bieber was not wanted in Buckhead. Only five people showed up, and they were interns from morning crew team The Regular Guys from radio station Rock 100.5.

Massell was incensed at the negative attention for Buckhead and the fake organization, which sounds uncomfortably close to the nonprofit group he leads. The Buckhead Coalition’s mission is to “nurture the quality of life of those who live, visit, work, and play in its twenty-eight square miles, and it brags on its diversification.”

“We have been bombarded with media enquiries concerning my identification as president of the “Neighborhood” group and the suggestion that we would oppose the return to Atlanta of Justin Bieber, who previously lived here: This is absolutely untrue,” Massell said in a statement to the media.

Massell said his daughter, vocalist Melanie Massell, would disown him if he snubbed a fellow musician and that he had also encountered opposition to his own Buckhead home purchase when he was an elected official. “I’m particularly sensitive to how unfair this behavior can be. And, regardless of my present senior status, I’d like to believe I can relate to the behavior of typical teenagers, and I know many who were embarrassments in the past but are civic successes now.”

“If I have the occasion to greet Justin Bieber, it will be with open arms – and now let’s all get back to work,” Massell said.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.