Justin Bieber deleted his Instagram account this week following a brief but mighty onslaught of negative comments related to his new girlfriend, 17-year-old model Sofia Richie. Selena Gomez got involved. Shade was thrown.
And just like that, he was gone.
It’s easy to dismiss the Insta shutdown as pure Bieber drama, or even just the typical trappings of internet culture. But these comments weren’t the work of run-of-the-mill trolls—instead, they were penned by his devotees, his beloved Beliebers.
It seems odd that these longtime (and famously dedicated) fans would turn on their idol so sharply. Why is this innocuous girl the breaking point? Why not the...