Hailey Bieber hasn’t said a word about the Selena Gomez TikTok drama; in fact, her social media activity is business as usual amid fan accusations that she has a long history of treating Gomez unkindly. But the viral discourse has still had a major impact on her social media following. Celebrity news fan account PopFaction pointed out that Bieber has lost over one million Instagram followers since the situation started in late February.
The outlet included a screenshot of Bieber’s account when accusations first broke that she and Jenner had subtly bullied Gomez, which Gomez and Jenner denied. Then, Bieber had 50.7 million followers. Now, Bieber has just 49.7 million. Jenner also lost over half a million followers, while Gomez has gained over 10 million as fans rally to support her.
Gomez and Bieber’s history is complicated, with Bieber showing Gomez love on social media over the years but also posting content construed as shade to Gomez. While Gomez has spoken out against the hate Bieber has gotten from her fans multiple times, neither Bieber or her husband (and Gomez’s ex) Justin have ever asked their fans to stop harassing Gomez. Both Gomez and Bieber have been candid about how those hateful comments have severely affected their mental health.
In an interview with Call Her Daddy in September, Bieber revealed that she previously had suicidal thoughts. Her worst times were “when things get really dark, and you start having thoughts of it not being worth it anymore or not wanting to be here anymore, which I have had before in the past,” she said.
She credited her support system for helping her make it through those times. “Sometimes I don’t think we can comprehend [those thoughts] on our own because then you just throw yourself back into like, a vicious cycle,” she started. “I do think sometimes you need to express it, and you need to go to someone who is going to feel safe for you and support you in those thoughts, not make you feel like you’re crazy or that you’re wrong for feeling dark and deep and heavy. There’s also like this kind of weird, twisted thing where I’m like, ‘I don’t get to feel like that because I have an amazing life and I’m so blessed, and I’m so fortunate.’”
Gomez spoke to Vanity Fair in an interview published last month about how the harassment she received from the Biebers’ fans and commenters pitting her against Hailey Bieber and Justin Bieber’s other girlfriends led her to leave most social media platforms.
“I never got the chance to go to an actual high school,” Gomez said. “The world was my high school for the longest time, and I started getting inundated with information that I didn’t want. I went through a hard time in a breakup and I didn’t want to see any of the [feedback]—not necessarily about the relationship, but the opinions of me versus [someone] else. There’d be thousands of really nice comments, but my mind goes straight to the mean one.”
“People can call me ugly or stupid and I’m like, whatever. But these people get detailed,” she continued. “They write paragraphs that are so specific and mean. I would constantly be crying. I constantly had anxiety…I couldn’t do it anymore. It was a waste of my time.”
“The only thing I have on my phone is TikTok because I find it to be a little less hostile,” she added. “There are wonderful things about social media—connecting with fans, seeing how happy and excited they are and their stories. But usually that’s filtered through [for me now]. I created a system. Everything I do I send to my assistant who posts them. As far as comments, my team will put together a few things that are encouraging.”
Apart from the perceived drama, Gomez and Bieber seem to be good terms. The two women went so far as to embrace each other at the Academy Museum Gala in October, signaling to the world that all is good between them.
A source said at the time, “Selena and Hailey were both super chill together at the Academy Museum Gala. They’ve both moved on and are happy in their own lives. They wanted to show the world that there’s no beef or bad feelings between them anymore.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.