Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin and Kendall Jenner are all under fire on social media, where they had a public discussion about privilege for all the world to see. The three chatted together on Instagram Live on Friday, saying that they were "blessed" to be living with relative wealth during this global pandemic. Many people online called their comments "tone deaf" to say the least.
Bieber and his wife, Baldwin were curled up on a couch together on Friday, having a public video chat with Jenner. All three remarked on the fear and anxiety of the coronavirus pandemic, and on the homes they were spending all their time in. They could not help but talk about how luxurious their homes were, as Bieber asked Jenner: "How do you like your place that you got?"
"Oh my God it's literally my favorite place on the planet," Kendall replied with a smile. "I worked for so long to get it to the point it's at. I renovated it for like a year."
"How blessed are we?" Bieber said. "A lot of people obviously in this time have a crappy situation. They look at us and obviously we worked hard for where we're at so we can't feel bad for the things that we have but I think us taking that time to acknowledge that there are people who are crippling is important. We send our love and support to them."
"I think about it all the time," Jenner answered.
Commenters watching the livestream were not charmed by this rhetoric, chiming in with responses like: "They live in f—ing mansions, stop complaining," and "God can always remind you."
In the hours that followed, clips of the conversation were circulated on social media, and the responses got even more harsh. Here's a look at what people had to say to Bieber, Baldwin and Jenner about their privilege.
'Please Log Off'
As someone who has made a career out of being an idiot online, PLEASE know there is a time and place to act a fool and now is not it!!!!— Sam Stryker (@sbstryker) April 10, 2020
Many people thought that Bieber, Baldwin and Jenner were all simply being tone deaf because they did not really realize the disparity between their wealth and that of other people, nor how people would see it. They advised them — and all celebrities — to stay off social media during the ongoing economic anxiety of the coronavirus pandemic.
to all the ppl saying they DID work hard to be as wealthy as they are, no they didn't lmao. they were fed w a silver spoon the minute they came out their moms hoohah. only reason they're rich is bc their families were successful to begin with— big nic energy (@nicdimitrakis) April 11, 2020
Others drew particular attention to the suggestion that these three stars worked hard for their fortunes. They thought that this was clearly not true, especially for Jenner, whose family helped coin the phrase "famous for being famous."
Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner on IG live: pic.twitter.com/bIGgWY0uxm— Miranda Priestly (@Runway1892) April 11, 2020
People shared memes and jokes relating Bieber and Jenner's commentary to that of other stars who thought they were being relatable at inopportune times. The ever-viral photo of Paris Hilton wearing a shirt that said "STOP BEING POOR" made the rounds yet again.
They could "poor poor ppl :/"; in private! Not in front of thousands of people some of which are in fact poor I—— Ivycado 🥑✨ (@IvyKungu) April 10, 2020
Many people were were not surprised to hear Bieber and Jenner talking this way, but simply wondered why they had to do it publicly. They pointed out that these famous friends could simply video chat like everyone else if they really wanted to avoid scrutiny for their words.
'Twist His Words'
Justin Bieber's haters taking advantage of a pandemic to twist his words and get him dragged just because they hate him that much, are we surprised? y'all need to go to therapy pic.twitter.com/P0M68PZXiK— ᴹ (@glossywife) April 11, 2020
Many of Bieber's fans sprang to his rescue, saying that critics were "twisting his words" to make him sound insensitive. They started a hashtag to centralize their argument with Bieber's critics.
Justin Bieber: ".. there are a lot of people who can't afford to stay home right now; who don't know how they are going to pay their bills. There are people facing extreme anxiety and worry. We are currently working on our ways to help those in financial crisis (...)" #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/3qbxYh0IJm— ᴹ (@glossywife) April 11, 2020
Some of Bieber's defenders shared other quotes from recent posts or Instagram Live sessions, where he showed more compassion for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and vowed to help them somehow. Back in February, Bieber did pledge to donate $29,000 to a children's charity in China called the Beijing Chunmiao Charity Foundation, but it is not clear what these more recent promises entail. Bieber's net worth is estimated at $285 million, according to WealthyGorilla.
Justin Bieber's career started because Usher came across him singing on YouTube. Kendall Jenner's dad is an Olympian. Hailey Bieber's dad is a Hollywood star. Get the fuck out of here with being "blessed" and "working hard"https://t.co/pZjCRHu8cx— Keith Edwards 🍥 (@keithedwards) April 10, 2020
Finally, many people focused on the "hard work" argument, repeating the head starts in life that had given Bieber, Baldwin and Jenner all economically privileged status at a young age. They emphasized that the privilege itself is not a bad thing — only the rhetoric around it. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the CDC's website.