Nearly four months ago, one of the top trending news stories was an apparent feud between Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez, fueled almost entirely by drama accounts on TikTok. In the month before the internet moved on to its next viral fixation, it split itself in two. People with no vested interest in either of these people declared themselves as Team Gomez or Team Bieber, as though they bet money on the projected winner. But as Bieber said in a recent interview, the bizarre hunger to pick sides in such an inconsequential matter was never about either of the women that the conversation was centered around.
“I don’t think that this is about me, Hailey Bieber, and Selena Gomez,” Bieber told Bloomberg’s The Circuit. “This is not about this pitting between two women and division between two women — it’s about the vile, disgusting hatred that can come from completely made-up and twisted, and perpetuated narratives that can be really dangerous.”
The apparent feud between these two women is like a post-apocalyptic pop culture roach that just won’t die. Justin Bieber, as Bieber’s wife and Gomez’s ex-boyfriend, is the connecting factor between them, but the internet is the entity that has been fueling the fire for literal years now. “Because of a guy? It’s awful. I hate it,” Bieber stated in the interview. “I’ve hated it since the beginning, and it goes back to being misunderstood. Time and time again, I don’t know why I keep having to say that there is no issue and there is no problem. It’s so disappointing that people still behave this way over a man.”
The root of this month-long back-and-forth in particular — which found Bieber being bombarded with hate in her comment sections across platforms, accused of copying Gomez’s every move, and branded as a mean girl — was a TikTok video series dissecting Eyebrow Gate, the apparent shading of Gomez by Bieber and her best friend Kylie Jenner in a series of Instagram Story posts. It was as ridiculous as it sounds. Even after Jenner stated that everyone was making something out of nothing, and Gomez posted a story saying Bieber reached out to her to say she had received “death threats and such hateful negativity,” the fire continued to burn.
Both Bieber and her husband stayed relatively silent throughout the ordeal, while Gomez took a brief hiatus from social media but returned after almost two weeks. This interview marked her first extensive conversation about the incident, though she has discussed Gomez in podcast interviews in the past — mainly to insist that there’s no bad blood between them, again, since no one got it the first million times.
“I think that it’s an opportunity to really stand for bringing people together and not being okay with the kind of division that it caused, because I’m not okay with the kind of division that it caused,” Bieber added. “I don’t like this whole idea of team this person and team this person — I want to be able to bring people together and I think that it was a really important moment for people to see that you can do that and you can bring people together and it doesn’t have to be about this whole divisive nature.”