for charity, with proceeds going to Pencils of Promise, an organization that funds schools and education in the developing world.
But not everyone approves of the way Bieber rehomed Johnson – especially not the eventual winner of the auction, Michael Kronick. In an E! News exclusive interview, Kronick sniffed that he's "amazed" the singer sold "his own personal pet," and he didn't stop there: "I found it really disgusting that celebrities like Bieber would stoop to a level of using living creatures as a fashion accessory and then so easily discard it."
Kronick bid on the snake hoping that he could donate Johnson to a zoo, and that's exactly what he did: Johnson is now a resident of the Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Zoo in Owatonna, MN, where he's currently undergoing handling by the zookeepers to prep him for contact with the public. According to lead zookeeper Barry Benjamin, Johnson's enclosure will sport a plaque letting visitors know he used to belong to Bieber; the zoo will also allow photo ops with the pale reptile.
The zoo is likely to benefit from Johnson's famous presence, and Johnson himself likely doesn't care much either way, as long as he has a sunny rock to sleep on and the occasional rodent buffet. But is Kronick right?
Well, we agree that pets aren't toys or accessories, and nobody should treat them as disposable, famous or not. But...we don't think that's what went down. Bieber has advocated for responsible pet adoption, and co-adopted a shelter pet with Selena Gomez late last year, so while it's possible that the kid just dumped Johnson after the MTV event, it's more likely that he saw an opportunity to raise money AND find the snake a more suitable pet parent than a teen dream who's on the road constantly. Bieber may also not have realized just how big a baby boa will get when it's not a baby anymore, and decided Johnson was better off in more experienced hands – which is not the most common-sense choice, but from here, it looks like Bieber did his best to find the snake a good situation.
We're not entirely sure the same can be said of Kronick, though. The Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Zoo is a perfectly reputable establishment that cares for its animals, as far as we know (its nickname is "The RAD Zoo," which is awesome) – but the zoo isn't always the best place for an animal, and the fact is, Johnson is going to have to work for a living whether he realizes it or not. And not for nothing, but what Kronick does when he works for a living makes us think his disparaging remarks might have more to do with self-promotion than concern for Johnson's welfare. Kronick is the proprietor of Startifacts, a celebrity memorabilia resale outfit that features authentic movie costumes, stars' personal effects, et cetera – so maybe his primary concern was Johnson's safety and comfort. Or maybe he would have bid on any Bieber-abilia, and when it came to the snake, Kronick saw his chance to get his name in the news by manufacturing a non-troversy with Bieber's name as leverage.
If that's the case, it's effective – we had never heard of Kronick OR his business before this morning, and now you've heard of them too – but it's cynical as well. Accusing a Bieber of blithely kicking a pet to the curb when he seems, on balance, like a decent kid who cares about animal welfare is kind of crappy of Kronick. We're going to side with the Bieb on this one.
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