Early this morning, Justin Bieber deactivated his Instagram account after threatening to delete his Instagram account after his ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez criticized him via Instagram for posting Instagrams of his new girlfriend Sofia Richie that criticized his fans for criticizing his Instagrams of Sofia Richie. [Selena Gomez has since "apologized" for her comments on Snapchat.]
In the mere hours since, #Jexit has been covered thousands and thousands of times. In an effort to understand this crisis from a fresh angle, I doggedly pursued an interview with a 13-year-old young woman I know, a precocious adolescent who has an encyclopedic knowledge of and well-considered opinions regarding the Justin Bieber canon.
How’d you find out about the news this morning?
Teen: When I woke up, I looked at my phone and I saw my friends were texting about how Justin shut down his Instagram. So I looked it up online and read some articles about it, and I thought it was real stupid. That’s the way you get in touch with your fans, right? He’s just doing it for attention, obviously. How is he going to talk to his fans now? What if he deletes his Twitter?
How do you feel, as his fan?
Teen: I don’t really like him that much.
What? You love him.
Teen: I love his music, but I don’t love him as a person.
When did you stop liking him as a person?
Teen: Probably after the pee in the bucket. When he was getting all those arrests and stuff. That period.
Why don’t you like him now? It’s been years since the pee in the bucket.
Teen: Because he is so full of himself and so selfish. Just look at what he did this morning. It’s just selfish. He ruined and hurt a lot of his fans by doing this. Because he was hurt, he decided to hurt all of his fans by shutting down their connection. Also, a couple months ago he told his fans he wouldn’t take pictures with them anymore. That’s rude.
How do you feel knowing you’ll never get a picture with him?
Teen: Sad. If I saw him on the street, I’d be like, “Oh, there’s Justin Bieber, I wanna get a picture with him.” But he’d be like, “No.” And I’d be really sad.
Why would you be sad about not taking a picture if you don’t like him?
Teen: I don’t know. It’d still be cool. If you just saw a random celebrity, even if you didn’t like them that much, but you like their music, it’d be cool to take a picture with him.
[Stares at her phone.] The last time Justin tweeted was three days ago.
OK. How would you convince him to take a picture with you?
Teen: I’d make my puppy eyes. He would have to give in. [Does puppy eyes.]
Are you gonna miss his Instagram?
Teen: No. I’m not. But I know people that will miss his Instagram.
Teen: My friend, Lane.
Teen: Because she is a really big fan and she loves to, like, go through his Instagram and screenshot a picture and put it as the background on her phone. And she wants to convince me to like him as a person.
How will you comfort Lane?
Teen: Actually, I don’t know if she woke up yet. So I don’t know if she knows what’s going on. This could be surprising news to her.
How are you gonna break it to her?
Teen: Hopefully I won’t need to. Hopefully she will just read the group chat and be very sad and devastated. Actually, the person who put it in the group chat, her name is Anna, she was like, “Justin Bieber shut down his Instagram” with a sad emoji.
What were the other responses?
Teen: I responded, “He’s a douche.” All my other friends replied with arrows at my comment to show that they agree. I tried to comfort Anna by saying that he was a douche. But she never responded.
Do you think she’s upset that you said that?
Teen: Maybe. But then, to try to clear it up, I sent a photo of Kylie Jenner tweeting, “I guess now I’m the fifth most-followed person on Instagram.” And Anna wrote back, “LOL. Savage.”
Your friends say “savage?”
Let’s talk about the Selena/Justin drama. Have you been following that this whole time?
Teen: Yes, I have.
What are your thoughts on it?
Teen: I think it’s really immature and childish.
On whose part?
Teen: Both of them. But I think more Justin Bieber. What they’re saying to each other, commenting on the Sofia Richie photo, is just really weird. I think it’s all for publicity. He was like, “Oh, me cheating? What about Zayn?” That was really stupid. And immature. I understand that Selena did it first, but if he were smart enough, he’d just shut it down and not kept it going. Basically it’s all Selena's fault. Thanks, Selena.
Don’t you love Selena?
Teen: Yes, I do.
Do you think Selena was just dating Bieber for the attention, like he said?
Teen: No. He was more into it than she was. It always seemed like that. In all the interviews, he talks about her so much more. He was like, “She has very kissable cheeks.” And she’d be like, “Yeah, he’s like my brother. He’s little.” It’s kind of insulting to say that. Also it’s weird to be dating your brother.
So how are you handling these conflicting feelings?
Teen: I don’t know. I think it’s all Selena’s fault. But I also hate Justin at the moment. So it’s really hard to decide whose side I’m on. Maybe I’m on Sofia Richie’s side. She’s just the innocent little 17-year-old in the middle of this.
You think she’s innocent?
Teen: Uh-huh. She probably just thinks it’s cool to hang out with Justin Bieber.
If you were hanging out with Justin Bieber and he was like, “I’m gonna post some photos of us on Instagram,” what would you say?
Teen: I would say, “Yes, OK!” That’s pretty cool. But I wouldn’t want him to be, like, posting so many. That seems weird. Maybe one or two. I wouldn’t post them on my account.
Teen: I wouldn’t wanna brag about it. Everybody knows I’m already on his Instagram, so I wouldn’t wanna be like, “Yep, he’s on my Instagram, too!” I mean, he’s cool, but he’s not that cool.
If you were Sofia Richie in this situation, what would you do?
Teen: I would reach out to Selena privately. Because if I did it publicly, it would just start more drama. I’d reach out to her privately, and see if she was jealous — I’d try to bring up that topic. If she were jealous, I would say, “There are no hard feelings, because there’s nothing going on between us.”
Even if there was?
Teen: Even if there was, I would lie to her.
Why would you lie?
Teen: I don’t know. Because sometimes the truth hurts.
What would you do if you were Selena, and you saw these pictures?
Teen: I’d probably be jealous. I’d definitely not comment on his photo and start this whole thing. I probably wouldn’t do anything. Maybe I’d start posting pictures of me and some guy and be subtle.
What advice do you have for Selena?
Teen: She should lay off and let him post pictures of his girlfriend. Actually, no, I take that back. She wasn’t the one who said stop posting pictures. Just don’t comment on photos in the first place. She could give him advice privately. But that would probably be weird.
Teen: Because they probably don’t talk anymore.
And now Justin. What advice would you give him?
Teen: Get a life!!!!!
Should he reinstate his Instagram?
Teen: I don’t know. Let me think about that. Hm. No. Because — actually I don’t know. This is so confusing. This is too much. If he got it again, it’d seem like he was the low one, because he gave into everyone being like, “Bring your Instagram back!” But it’d also be very nice to the fans. But then there’s this whole hashtag about the #JustinDeactivatedParty — people are so happy he got rid of his Instagram. So I don’t know. It’s hard to make both sides happy. Maybe he should just leave it be.
Do you think it was wrong to post the photos in the first place?
Teen: No. He has a right to post the photos. They were cute pictures.
As a fan, do you get jealous when he posts photos of his girlfriends?
Teen: Because it’s not realistic. He doesn’t know I exist or that any fan in the world exists. I don’t think anyone would get jealous.
But they did — they got mad that he posted those photos.
Teen: Oh, yeah. Because maybe ... I don’t know. That really confuses me. Wouldn’t they know they’re never gonna be with Justin Bieber? I’m just being real.
So what would you say to these fans?
Teen: I would say that they should stop wasting their time on someone who is very famous. And read a book.