What is behind the hounding of Hailey Bieber? Toxic fandom and divisive algorithms
Posted March 30, 2023 by: Admin
As a preteen, I was a die-hard fan of Bush, particularly the band’s lead singer, Gavin Rossdale. I spent countless hours scouring the internet for anything related to the band, even though the internet was slow and not as readily accessible as it is now. While I harboured some jealousy towards Gwen Stefani for being with Gavin, I never sent her any online threats. Back then, such behaviour was considered unhinged, and the slow internet speed made instant harassment nearly impossible.
Fast forward to today, and the internet has become a breeding ground for harassment. Fans of all ages can easily become obsessed with their favourite celebrities and engage in toxic fandom. A prime example of this is the feud between Hailey Bieber and Selena Gomez’s fans. The two women have been pitted against each other because they both dated Justin Bieber, who is now married to Hailey. This fake feud has been amplified on social media platforms like TikTok, which love to push divisive content that drives engagement.
Gomez fans have relentlessly attacked Bieber, who has repeatedly pleaded with them to stop. However, her requests have fallen on deaf ears. In a recent incident, fans at a Justin Bieber concert chanted derogatory remarks about Hailey. Such harassment can be unbearable, regardless of how rich or famous the victim is.
Critics are also not spared from the wrath of toxic fandom. Saying the wrong thing about someone’s favourite celebrity can lead to a vicious pile-on. For instance, the co-director of Everything Everywhere All at Once had to plead with fans to stop criticising the New York Times’ film critics for leaving the movie off their Top 10 lists.
Despite the negative aspects of toxic fandom, it can also be a force for good. For example, Taylor Swift fans took legal action against Ticketmaster’s anti-competitive practices, while Britney Spears fans worked to end her conservatorship. Nonetheless, the dark side of modern fandom is becoming more evident. Being famous now comes with a price, and some fans are willing to pay it at the expense of others.