Why Justin Bieber could hurt Palm Springs tourism

February 10th, 2014 | by Reza Gostar | Comments

photo 1 (2)A sign referencing embattled pop singer Justin Bieber posted in the window of the Michael Weems’ Autoerotica Gallery at Palm Canyon Drive is turning heads and apparently causing a stir among local Canadians.

The sign, which reads “Canadians take Bieber with you,” was placed at the gallery by Weems and was meant as light-hearted joke, Weems told The Desert Sun.

Bieber has been in the news lately thanks to a driving under the influence arrest in Miami and a ruckus he caused on a private plane.

Weems said he has been placing the lighted marquee at this store window for the past two years with various messages.  Previous signs posted by Weems have read, “Tourists free driving lessons,” “beige is not a color” and “shop local baby Jesus does.”

“People love it,” Weems said. “I’ve had my Canadian clients call me and say ‘please leave it up  till I come to town.’”

Nearly 1,500 people have stopped to get their photo taken with the sign, said Weems, adding “I’m tempted to do a billboard on the I-10 freeway.”

However, not everyone is a fan.  Palm Springs City Manager David Ready said he received a telephone message from a “Canadian lady” who was concerned.

Ready said he spoke with the president of the Main Street Association, a Palm Springs merchant group, about the sign. “I asked her to convey the sentiments of the caller” to the gallery owner, he said.

“My concern is that everybody feels welcome to Palm Springs,” Ready said, adding that the Canadian caller lives in Palm Springs during the winter.

She felt offended and believes others were “offended as well,” Weems said.

As for removing the sign and/or facing the wrath of millions of preteen “bieliebers,” Weems, who is not planning on taking it down anytime soon, said “they can always buy it for $35,000.”

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