At some point late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, otherwise known as the golden hour of social media mistakes, Justin Bieber made a decision.
It had been a trying couple of days for the teen idol. After publicly dating a series of interchangeable celebrity offspring, Bieber settled down with Lionel Richie’s daughter, Sofia Richie. Naturally, Bieber’s fan base of 17-year-old girls who want to sleep with Justin Bieber didn’t care for the 17-year-old who actually seemed to be sleeping with Justin Bieber. Then, on Sunday morning, the Canadian posted a photo with Richie captioned, “I’m gonna make my Instagram private if you guys don’t stop the hate this is getting out of hand, if you guys are really fans you wouldn’t be so mean to people I like.”
Luckily for those of us who really wanted this situation to get out of hand, there’s one person we can always count on to take Bieber to task. Her name is Selena Gomez, she’s the most followed person on Instagram, she can’t keep her hands to herself, and she really hates Justin Bieber.
Gomez is many things: occasional dater of Zedd, singer of pop songs, and not Demi Lovato. But in addition to her main job of staying famous, Gomez maintains a side gig as the patron saint of ex-girlfriends. As one half of Jelena, Gomez spent years attempting to date a grown man who still thinks that egging his neighbors is funny. Needless to say, that didn’t work out. At Jelena’s nadir, Gomez’s Bieber fever proved near-fatal, and the pop star checked herself into rehab to treat her addiction to Justin Bieber, which is both ridiculous and relatable.
So when Beliebers started turning against their chosen deity, Gomez was ready to fuel the backlash. She proceeded to comment on her ex-boyfriend’s Instagram with one of the many anti-Bieber missives we like to imagine Selena Gomez has stored on her iPhone’s Notes app. “Funny how the ones that cheated multiple times, are pointing the finger at the ones that were forgiving and supportive, no wonder fans are mad. Sad. All love.”
Gomez may have set a low bar for celebrity social media decorum, but Justin Bieber promptly limboed right under it, allegedly responding, “I cheated.. oh I forgot about You and Zayn?” If you’re old, that’s former One Directioner Zayn Malik whom Bieber just accused Gomez of stepping out with.
With the amount of tea that Justin Bieber just spilled all over the Internet, it’s no surprise that he broke his Instagram. After all the captions and clap backs were deleted and the social media shrapnel settled, we woke up on Tuesday to a world without Justin Bieber’s Instagram account. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. With no more selfies, no more snaps of Sofia Richie, and no more rogue dick pics in Bora Bora, there was nothing left to do but sift through the rubble and come to terms with the shade of it all. So throw on your Believe Tour tees and hazmat suits and let’s crown the winners and losers of the fallout.
Loser: Hailey Baldwin
Poor, sweet Hailey Baldwin. I might not be able to pick her out of a lineup of celebrity spawn—or Baldwins, for that matter—but that doesn’t mean I can’t sympathize. Earlier this year, Baldwin and Bieber seemed inseparable, traipsing across L.A. in his and her Vetements and Snapchatting the shit out of each other. But before you could read a clickbait article titled “5 Things You Need to Know About Justin Bieber’s Girlfriend, Hailey Baldwin,” the whirlwind romance was over. Clearly displeased with her demotion from famous by association to slightly less famous by association, Baldwin promptly enrolled in the Calvin Harris school of preoccupied exes and put herself in direct competition with Selena Gomez for vaguest Justin Bieber social media shade.
In a now-deleted Instagram post, Baldwin weighed in on the Belieber backlash, cryptically cooing, “Misplacing the blame onto someone else isn’t going to get you to the next stage in life. so try not to manipulate a situation to make yourself look better.” Insider sources claim that Baldwin wasn’t looking to start drama—she’s just hurt by how quickly Bieber moved on. Of course, in the age of the screenshot, it’s always too late to say sorry, but that didn’t stop the model from “clarifying”: “The only thing I ‘weigh in on’ is everyday life in general. Don’t rope me into things I'm not a part of and please respect my privacy. x.” This has been a day in the life of Hailey Baldwin, in general.
Winner: Sofia Richie
Before all of this social media scandal, Sofia Richie was just a 17-year-old aspiring model with a famous last name and the Tumblr of a NYU freshman. Now she’s a 21st century Yoko Ono and up-and-coming athleisure legend. I might not be physically capable of writing more than three sentences about Sofia Richie, but I’m open to learning five facts about her in the near future!
Before he deleted his Instagram account, Justin Bieber had over 77 million followers. That means that 77 million girls, boys, and weird adults have been robbed of the privilege of charting the depth and length of Bieber’s pelvic muscles, or taking screenshots of Justin Bieber’s dick pics before he deletes them. Without Justin Bieber’s Instagram account, millions of fans might be driven to desperate measures, like following Jeremy Bieber’s Instagram or actually listening to Bieber’s music. Beliebers have been reduced to piecing together their idol’s comings and goings through the meager materials of his Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts. Where are ü now, Justin? How will we ever really know?
Bieber’s decision to deactivate after his fans expressed some hate for his new boo just shows how pampered Justin Bieber really is. If Justin Bieber had one ounce of self-awareness or adult supervision, he’d probably realize that his fame is directly linked to his loyal fan base. Also, he probably wouldn’t have peed in that mop bucket. Justin Bieber doesn’t need a new girlfriend or a dad who uncomfortably tags him in pictures of phallic objects—he needs a reality check. And a public apology to his fans. And a new approach to facial hair. And the strength to block Selena Gomez on social media.
Winner: Selena GomezSelena Gomez is horrible at social media, needlessly petty, and should probably leave Justin Bieber alone. But at least she’s on brand. For being unapologetically Selena (and yes, that includes her predictable Snapchat apology) and proving once again that hell hath no fury like a Gomez scorned, we salute her.
Loser: Hashtag Parties
Beliebers quickly congregated under the #JustinDeactivatedParty banner to cry, gloat, and hold one another in the wake of Tuesday’s tragedy. This hashtag is the third celebrity-centric Twitter fete this month, rounding out the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty and #KimExposedTaylorSwiftParty. Those first two bashes were fun—the memes were high quality, the snake emojis were flying, and the outfits (waist trainers, Katy Perry T-shirts, Yeezys) were easily recyclable. But does Justin Bieber’s decision to deactivate his Instagram account actually merit a celebration? I know that millennials would rather go on Tumblr and play with virtual Pokémon than form meaningful interpersonal relationships or whatever, but are we really OK with this depressing new definition of a party? If Justin Bieber dates two girls in as many weeks and the rest of us respond by creating a hashtag, passing his screenshots back and forth, and staring indefinitely into the virtual void, who’s really having more fun?
Winner: Kylie Jenner
King Kylie is now the fifth most followed person on Instagram. In a since-deleted Tweet, the social media maven seemed extremely pleased to move up in the Instagram rankings, even if it was by default. Sorry, Khloé, but I’m pretty sure this makes Kylie the funny one.
Loser: Kendall Jenner’s Publicity TourWith all of this tween-centric drama, no one is talking about Kendall Jenner. In case you missed it—and who could blame you—Jenner and her disturbingly dead eyes are on the cover of Vogue’s very important September issue. She’s also officially dating A$AP Rocky while simultaneously being photographed going on Cheesecake Factory dates with Tyler, the Creator, who is not A$AP Rocky. But Jenner’s foray into two-timing and calories failed to distract the Twitterverse from all the Belieber chaos. Why you gotta ignore Kendall Jenner and Tyler, the Creator’s date at the Cheesecake Factory, world? You know she loves to go there.According to Kris Jenner and maybe other people too, Kendall Jenner is one of the hardest-working, most successful models in the business. Kendall Jenner has just as many simultaneous love interests as Justin Bieber. Kendall Jenner goes on just as many vacations as Justin Bieber. Kendall Jenner even “dated” Justin Bieber—so why is everybody talking about Hailey Baldwin? What does Kendall Jenner have to do to get some 24/7 press coverage around here?
Winner: Sahara RayAt first glance, Bieber’s newly minted ex-girlfriend might seem like a loser—that is, if you actually think that dating Bieber is a win. But the swimwear designer and pro-surfer spawn actually ended up with the best-case scenario. Ray got a free Hawaii vacation with Justin Bieber, a bunch of new social media followers, and some great bikini pics, and then she got out while the going was still good. Bieber fever is a deadly epidemic, and Sahara Ray somehow managed to free herself before she could catch any feelings. Now Selena and Hailey are out there looking petty, and Sahara Ray is free to focus on her career or whatever.
(Unfortunate) Loser: Actual Victims of Celebrity CyberbullyingSome news outlets have framed Justin Bieber as another victim of celebrity cyberbullying. This is offensive to people who have actually been cyberbullied. Leslie Jones was forced to take a hiatus from Twitter when her feed was wrecked by an onslaught of racist, misogynistic material. And when Olympics great Gabby Douglas headed to Rio, talentless trolls found a sport that even they could compete in—sexism and general douchebaggery. Online denizens criticized Douglas for everything from her hair to her performance to her facial expressions, proving that no matter how awesome or famous you are, men you don’t know will always feel comfortable telling you to smile.
Winner: All-Around PettinessFrom Kim Kardashian’s purse full of receipts to Khloé Kardashian’s fake picture of Chloë Grace Moretz’s asshole, this has been one petty August. Welcome to the summer of the snake emoji, where no slight is too trivial and no one goes un-dragged. Whether you’re a world-famous celebrity or just someone who got dumped two years ago and isn’t ready to let it go, it’s time to channel your inner Selena Gomez and say something you really shouldn’t.
Loser: BrunettesSorry, brunettes who want to date Justin Bieber. Better luck next summer.
Winner: California LawThere haven’t been this many people Googling California’s age of consent since Kylie Jenner and Tyga started dating two years ago. Apparently, it’s technically illegal for Californians to engage in sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18 unless they are that person’s spouse. Does that mean that Justin Bieber and Sofia Richie are getting married?
Loser: CanadaJustin Bieber refuses to stop embarrassing Canada.