Justin Bieber was arguably the first pop star to truly harness the power of social media, figuring out how it could make his fans feel like they were a whole lot closer to him. So it’s a weirdly big deal that — in what’s either a fit of petulance or a statement about his own humanity — Bieber has just deleted his Instagram. Recently, Bieber had been posting a few photos of himself with recent love interest Sofia Richie, Lionel’s daughter. Apparently, as CNN reports, some of his fans had left disapproving comments. And on one of those photos, Bieber left a caption threatening to delete his Instagram: “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 that I like.”
This probably would’ve been an idle threat if Bieber’s ex Selena Gomez hadn’t referenced Bieber’s Instagram in a comment: “If you can’t handle the hate then stop posting pictures of your girlfriend lol -it should be special between you two only. Don’t be mad at your fans. They love you. They were there for your before anyone.”
Bieber responded with a pair of comments of his own: “It’s funny to see people that used me for attention and still try to point the finger this way. Sad. All love… I’m not one for anyone receiving hate. Hope u can all be kind to my friends and eachother. And yes I love my beliebers.”
Gomez’s final response: “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.”
It’s weird and fun to see pop stars play out their personal beefs in a forum this public. And either Bieber got too sick of having his personal life under the microscope or Gomez finally got to him. He has now deleted his Instagram, though many Internet sleuths were kind enough to screengrab the entire exchange:
— SellaineBieber (@SellaineBieber) August 15, 2016
This isn’t Bieber’s first time struggling against what his fanbase wants from him. But it’s pretty amazing how he always manages to come off as petty as possible in virtually every situation.