As fans continue to speculate about a potential feud between Selena Gomez and Hailey Bieber, Justin Bieber has found himself embroiled in the controversy over the party favours he appeared to give out during his recent birthday party.
Gomez and the Rhode Skin founder have been subjected to feud rumours since Hailey married Justin in 2018, as the pop star famously dated Gomez on and off throughout the 2010s.
However, the renewed feud speculation, which also involves Kylie Jenner, began last month, when social media users suggested the Kylie Cosmetics founder and Hailey had purposely mocked the Rare Beauty founder after she’d posted an Instagram Story about accidentally over-laminating her eyebrows.
Although Gomez has shut down rumours of a feud, and urged her fans and followers to be “kinder and consider others’ mental health,” it hasn’t stopped fans from taking sides.
Now, fans believe that Justin may have made a statement of his own with his recent birthday party favours.
The “Peaches” singer celebrated his 29th birthday over the weekend with a carnival-themed, star-studded bash that included performances by Leon Bridges, Jules the Wulf, and Justin himself, as well as countless balloons and custom white hoodies for guests.
However, it was another party favour that has sparked a debate, as photos posted by attendees suggest that Justin also gave guests a $424 Twojeys lighter engraved with the words: “I’m so grateful that I didn’t end up with what I thought I wanted.”
Alfredo Flores, a director, videographer and photographer, and close friend of the pop star’s, shared a close-up look at the lighter in a since-expired post to his Instagram Story, according to a screenshot captured by BuzzFeed, while attendee Cole Bennett also posted a photo of the lighter.
On social media, the gift has sparked backlash among Gomez’s fans, with many accusing Justin and Hailey of subtly alluding to his relationship with the singer through the party favour’s engraving.
“Seems like they will never NOT mention Selena. Leave the girl alone, please. You’re married, you’re happy. What do you even want?” one person tweeted, while another said: “Okay… I mean, is he celebrating his birthday or his ex? Sorry, I don’t get this.”
“Imagine being this obsessed almost five years later. They need to get a grip,” someone else claimed.
Another fan accused Justin of “adding fuel to the fire” with the party favour, while one person claimed the gift was “childish as f**k”.
In addition to those who criticised Justin for the alleged dig at Gomez, others suggested that Hailey should also be upset by the party favour. “No woman deserves to be reminded by her own partner that she’s his second choice, girl should’ve left him ages ago and never looked back,” another fan claimed.
Although many believed that the lighter was a “dig” at Gomez, others defended Justin on the basis that the engraving could have been a reference to anything.
“This could mean anything. You know there’s more to his life than his romantic relationships,” one person wrote.
Another said: “This is a birthday party and could be literally about anything, y’all want him to think about that woman so bad.”
However, others hypothesised that the party favour was actually Hailey’s idea. “People saying this is Justin Bieber’s gift for his guests at his party [and] apparently shades Selena... As if Hailey didn’t plan the birthday party and buy it all,” someone else said.
The criticism of the alleged party favour comes after Gomez appeared to address the rumours of a feud in the comments section of her recent TikTok, where she said her “heart has been heavy” and urged fans to be “kinder”.
“I’m deeply grateful for each and every one of you humans. You make me unbelievably happy,” Gomez said in one comment, before adding in another: “Please, please be kinder and consider others’ mental health. My heart has been heavy and I only want good for everyone. All my love.”
As of now, neither Justin nor Hailey have addressed the backlash over the alleged party favours.
However, Justin shared multiple photos from the party to his Instagram, including one in which Hailey could be seen leaning in to hug him.
The Independent has contacted representatives for Justin and Hailey for comment.