Selena Gomez speaks out against fans' harassment of Hailey Bieber: 'Want this all to stop'
Selena Gomez is breaking her silence after the internet started rumors of a feud between her and Hailey Bieber.
The actress and singer shared the message on her Instagram story Friday.
"Hailey Bieber reached out to me and let me know that she has been receiving death threats and such hateful negativity," Gomez wrote. "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."
Speculation of an alleged clash started at the end of February when Gomez shared a video on TikTok telling fans she "accidentally laminated my brows" too much. Hours later, Kylie Jenner, a close friend of Bieber, posted a selfie on her Instagram story with the caption "this was an accident ?????" with the words placed over her eyebrows.
Another story post from Jenner at the time included a screenshot of her on FaceTime with model Bieber that prominently featured their eyebrows, leading fans to think they were taking direct shots at Gomez.
Since then, fans have turned what they perceive as a feud into a full-blown online war, fighting for the celebrity they feel is most in the right on social media and in the comments sections of the stars' own accounts.
Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber's dating history
Before Hailey Bieber married singer Justin Bieber, the singer famously dated Gomez for nearly a decade. The women have previously dispelled rumors that there is any bad blood between them. Still, fans are not entirely convinced, reigniting conflict rumors after the eyebrow comments.
Most of the discussion from fans is based on a handful of small moments and comments involving Gomez, the Biebers, and their respective friends.
The women have said they have no ill will toward each other and have even tried to put rumors to rest by taking photos together. To no avail as online division between fans has driven users to label themselves Team Selena or Team Hailey, often flooding the stars' social media pages with hateful remarks about their appearances, personalities and relationships.
Celebrities outside of Bieber and Gomez have also been affected. Singer Justine Sky, who is close friends with Bieber, shared photos of anonymous text messages she's received which included threats and harassment assuming she'd been tweeting about Gomez.
"I’ve just been trying to ignore but I’m sick of this," Skye tweeted. "If you actually do care and support someone who lives by non bullying and an advocate for mental health, you would educate and not continue to spread the hate you believe was being given to her."
What has Gomez said about mental health, online hate in the past
Gomez, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has spoken openly about mental health at the White House with first lady Jill Biden and has also discussed the negative effects of online hate, as she's often taken breaks from social media.
Shortly after rumors began swirling around the eyebrow comments, Gomez announced she was once again leaving social media on Feb. 23.
"I'm going to be taking a second from social media because this is a little silly. And I'm 30, I'm too old for this," Gomez said in a TikTok Live video. "But I love you guys so much, and I will see you guys sooner than later. I'm just going to take a break from everything."
What experts say about the Hailey Bieber, Selena Gomez discussion
Experts talked to USA TODAY in March about how this online behavior has negative effects on each party involved.
"When their idol is trolled, they feel personally trolled, causing this surge in defensiveness," Smriti Joshi, a licensed clinical psychologist and chief psychologist at mental health app Wysa, told USA TODAY. "This can be especially difficult for the younger fans who are still discovering their own sense of identity."
"People are often willing to hide behind whatever protections social media gives them, to say whatever comes to mind without first discerning if it's helpful or hurtful," Donna Rockwell, clinical psychologist and CEO of "Already Famous," a wellness community for women and girls tells USA TODAY. "Bear in mind that there's a human being you're talking about."
Read more on Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez
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Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Jenna Ryu
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Selena Gomez defends Hailey Bieber against online hate amid rumors