The only people more tired of hearing about the Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber drama that has had social media users in a chokehold for the past month are the people involved in the drama themselves. What started as TikTok users analyzing posts from the two women in search of potential shade or wrong-doing has quickly spiraled into as nasty cesspool of hate and manufactured competition. Even as the internet moves on, the negative impact persists at greater heights.
“Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity,” Gomez wrote on his Instagram Story early Friday morning. “This isn’t what I stand for. No one should have to experience hate or bullying. I’ve always advocated for kindness and really want this all to stop.”
A few hours after Gomez posted the statement, Bieber’s close friend Justine Skye issued a statement of her own, sharing screenshots of hateful text messages she received from unknown numbers and emails that celebrated Gomez while cursing herself and Bieber. In one message, an anonymous person referred to her as a “nasty black bitch” who needs to “stop obsessing over Selena.” In another, someone demanded: “Tell Hailey to come clean and apologize to Selena instead of being a pussy and running to you or begging to Selena for help.”
Skye also addressed the decision to remain silent instead of battling it out with stans online. “You guys have ASSUMED ENOUGH and it’s actually beyond insane at this point it’s been going on for over a month,” she wrote on Twitter. “What the hell do you want [to] happen next. For us to kill our selves!? No one says anything because there is no winning with you all but I’m fucking tired of this.”
She added: “It doesn’t matter what ANYONE says you guys don’t want to truth to be real… But the fact of the matter is you’re all so wrong. Wrong for instigating and perpetuating this horrible narrative. Wrong for not only spewing hate on the internet but also having to deal with it irl.. this isn’t a game and it’s no longer funny. You’re probably going to find something wrong with this too I’m sure but go ahead.”
Earlier this month, mediator and conflict resolution expert Damali Peterman told Rolling Stone about the manifestation of toxic femininity folded into the Team Bieber versus Team Gomez feud. “There’s a risk that the posters have when they’re posting about someone else’s conflict, especially conflicts that don’t impact you in any way,” she explained. “These conflicts have the ability to be crippling, even if they’re just if they’re not in their face, but rather at a distance to technology.”
When the drama first picked up speed in late February – an offshoot of fans accusing Bieber and her best friend Kylie Jenner of teasing Gomez via indirect posts on Instagram – both Jenner and Gomez attempted to shut the rumors down before they became unruly. “U guys are making something out of nothing,” Jenner commented on one video. with Gomez agreeing in a reply.
But even as she attempted to snuff out the flames, the singer simultaneously fueled them. Later that day, Gomez commented on a video that described Hailey as a “mean girl” for reacting negatively to the mention of her best friend Taylor Swift’s name in a clip from over three years ago. Soon after, she announced she would be taking a break from social media.
“I’m going to be taking a second from social media, because this is a little silly,” she said on a TikTok livestream. “I’m 30 and am too old for this. But I love you so much and I’ll see you guys sooner than later.”
While Gomez was gone, the hate continued to fester. The comment sections beneath Bieber’s posts on Instagram, as well as underneath her husband Justin Bieber’s uploads, were rampant with name-calling and brutal accusations of stalking and dangerous obsession from her part. Neither Justin or Hailey issued responses or engaged with the conflict.
When Gomez returned to social media about a week later, sharing a beauty tutorial on TikTok, she expressed in a comment: “I’m deeply grateful for each and every one of you humans. You make me unbelievably happy,” before later adding: “Please, please be kinder and consider others mental health. My heart has been heavy and I only want good for everyone. All my love.”
That would have been as good a time as any to issue the request she made today, getting ahead of the situation before it had a chance to escalate even more over the following three weeks.