I have no idea what it’s like to be a celebrity, but I imagine that getting flooded with hate messages on your Instagram account is definitely not the most fun part of the job. Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened to Justin Bieber this weekend when he dared to post multiple photos of himself and his rumored new girlfriend, Sofia Richie. After receiving tons of negative comments from Beliebers about Richie, the Biebs had enough and wrote that he was going to make his Instagram private if the hate didn’t stop. Many fans were outraged at Bieber’s response, seeing Bieber’s threat as choosing Richie over his loyal fans. Even Bieber’s ex, Selena Gomez, seemed to agree with the singer’s angry fans, telling Bieber in an Instagram comment to stop posting pics of his current bae if he couldn’t stand the hate. Sorry, fans — and Gomez — but there’s one person who is right in this situation, and that’s Bieber.
I can’t pretend to understand fully why Bieber’s fans are so angry with him (according to one fan’s Instagram post, many Beliebers have been feeling stung by the Bieb’s apparent lack of appreciation for his fans for a while now), but that doesn’t mean anyone has an excuse to attack someone else online. Richie may be a celebrity and the newest girl on Bieber’s arm, but that doesn’t make her any less of a person. A quick scroll on these Instagram pictures reveals fans shading Richie with comments like “Ew,” “Why her?!?” and “#TeamSelena.” That’s not loyal fan behavior — that’s straight-up cyberbullying. Attacking Richie simply because she’s hanging out with Bieber and appearing in pictures on his Instagram page is childish, mean-spirited and, frankly, cruel.
I’m totally on board with Bieber telling his fans to cut things out, and I understand why he would want to make his Instagram private as a way to stop the hate. Fans may enjoy looking at Bieber’s Instagram, but they aren’t owed access to his social media page — especially when they aren’t respectful on it. Whether or not Richie really is Bieber’s new girlfriend, she’s clearly someone Bieber cares about. If these comments hurt her feelings, he’s allowed to take steps to make sure the haters can’t get to her.
I know there are tons of Bieber fans who have been nothing but supportive on his Instagram page, but Bieber has the right to choose what he wants to do with his social media accounts. His Instagram page may be fun for fans, but right now, it doesn’t seem very fun for Bieber. If he wants to make it private, I totally understand why.