The Drama That Refuses to Die: Selena vs. Hailey
It’s time to dive into the never-ending feud that has dominated my feed: the war between Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber. It seems everyone has an opinion on this ongoing drama. While most celebrity breakups usually blow over in weeks, this one has quickly turned into a sporting event on social media that somehow manages to resurface every single year. People are picking sides and seeking validation from anyone who will take their stance. Regardless of whichever side of the fence you find yourself on, there are notable PR and social comms insights that we can draw from the drama, but first - here’s a recap of the fiasco. The feud between Selena and Hailey goes back almost a decade. Hailey, now 26, was once a fan of Justin Bieber and his relationship with Selena Gomez. But when rumors of Hailey and Justin getting engaged just months after his split with Selena, things got complicated. Fans on both sides have been using old interviews and social media screenshots to back up their claims, figure out timelines, and fabricate their own plot lines and conspiracy theories. Though entertaining, both women have gone out of their way to assure fans that this is all made up and that there is no “bad blood.” No one is buying it. When people aren’t comparing each woman’s relationship with Justin, they are comparing their social media captions, make-up, and skincare brands. Most recently, eyebrows have been the cause of the latest ruckus. It was actually TikTok users who blew the whistle that divided everyone tuning in to the apparent feud between the two camps. TikToker Nuha El-Quesny dissected "Eyebrow Gate," the apparent shading of Selena by Hailey and Kylie Jenner, in a series of Instagram story posts. Selena agreed with Jenner's comment that people were making something out of nothing, but when she announced a break from social media the next day, Selena’s army of fans and spectators took it upon themselves to unleash their wrath on not just Hailey, but anyone who claims to be friends with her. As the feuding continues, even celebrities have come out of the woodwork to pledge their allegiance to #TeamSelena. The celebrity support for Selena caused Hailey's follower count on Instagram to plummet. Hailey lost nearly one million followers in just a week. Meanwhile, Selena gained 10 million new followers, making her the most followed woman on the app. Of course, my push notifications for both Selena and Hailey’s social media accounts were on, as I was anxiously waiting to see how the two would handle this PR nightmare - and in turn, how they would be received by their audiences. As expected, both parties have taken different approaches to publicly handling the situation. Selena has largely stayed out of the conflict and has tried to distance herself from the drama, once writing, "I'm 30 and am too old for this." On the other hand, Hailey has been more vocal in her defense, outright posting Instagram stories clarifying that she was not shading Selena Gomez. She also engaged in a back-and-forth with TikTok users in the comment section. Hailey has also liked posts on social media that show her in a positive light and has unfollowed accounts that are critical of her. Overall Selena has made it clear that she wants to move on from the drama, while Hailey has tried to defend herself and her actions. Taking the loss of social followers and headlines into account, it’s obvious that Hailey and her PR team’s tendency to react and act out of defensiveness will never attract the public acceptance and positive outcome they want.
It's obvious that Hailey & her PR team's tendency to react and act out of defensiveness will never attract the public acceptance & positive outcome they want
In the end, there isn't a true and finite outcome to these types of faceoffs, and fans will never be content. There may be no winning in this case as those who care (and there are many who do) demand Hailey own up to “their” version of the truth and won’t rest until she does.