Selena Gomez Seems to Have Attended the Kevin Durant School of Fighting Your Own Fans Online

Gomez hard launched her new relationship by fighting with Instagram commenters. As an NBA fan, I got deja vu…

Selena Gomez Seems to Have Attended the Kevin Durant School of Fighting Your Own Fans Online
Photo:Getty Images, Instagram, Twitter

In the age of social media, a good hard launch is everything. You only get one chance to debut your new life partner to your legions of adoring fans (or, at the very least, your grandparents and the handful of people from high school who still follow you on Instagram). At the end of last week, instead of the traditional hard-launch avenues of a red carpet walk or an intimate selfie, Selena Gomez took a slightly more guerilla approach: She fought tooth and nail with every Instagram commenter on the damn app who had something to say about her new romance with producer Benny Blanco.

It started when she replied to an Instagram post that read “Selena Gomez Is Rumored To Be Dating Producer Benny Blanco” by writing, “Facts.” From there, things snowballed. Sure, some of the commenters didn’t exactly come in peace, with many disparaging Blanco’s looks (he’s cute enough!!). But more than anything, Gomez seemed insistent on stressing that she is happier than we could ever know and our opinions do not matter: “I will never allow your words to guide my life. Ever. I’m done,” she wrote in response to one user. Gomez went on to reveal that she and Blanco had been quietly dating for six months before making their relationship very public last week with selfies, a prominent “B” ring on Gomez’s finger (which fans theorize to be from Shein???), and flirty Instagram comments.

But her Thursday night commenting spree went on for some time. Another commenter questioned why Gomez was coming in hot for her new relationship despite (very briefly) leaving Instagram after being called out for her silence on the crisis in Gaza. “You’re right,” Gomez replied. (For possible damage control, Gomez notably spent Friday night with Taylor Swift at comedian Ramy Youssef’s show in Brooklyn, which raised money for humanitarian aid in Gaza.) When another questioned her new relationship, Gomez hit back, “then why has he been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The end,” before randomly mic-dropping that she’s had botox. The cherry on the cringe-cake, for me, was when one commenter seemingly insisted Gomez was out of Blanco’s league, writing, “SELENA YOU ARE GORGEOUS WHAT THE HELL,” to which Gomez iconically replied: “I am gorgeous. I’m normal.” OK!!!

You’ll be pleased to know that many of Gomez’s replies, some of which were so out-of-pocket they sparked conspiracy theories she’d been hacked, have already been memed, despite Gomez’s insistence this past summer that she’d “never become a meme again.” (My personal favorite?? This one.) The bizarre decision to rough house her own fans raised many a question for curious onlookers (namely: Is she OK???). But for me, as an NBA fan and voracious consumer of NBA Twitter, it raised just one: Is Selena Gomez a Kevin Durant fan????

If she is, her recent commenting spree is a profound and deeply moving homage to the Phoenix Suns superstar’s infamous body of work. But whether she’s a fan or not, Gomez seems to have attended the Kevin Durant School of Fighting Your Own Fans on Social Media, a school I hope to someday be rich, famous, and bored enough to attend, myself.

Durant, for those unfamiliar, has long nursed a fairly intense Twitter addiction: In 2017, the world briefly stopped spinning when he inadvertently outed his Twitter burner account. He attempted to reply to a critic from said burner account, only to reply from his main one, and speak about himself in third person. “He didn’t like the [OKC Thunder]… Imagine taking Russ [Russell Westbrook] off that team, see how bad they were. Kd can’t win a championship with those cats,” Durant wrote. (Oh, take me back to the moment that tweet first dropped…)

More recently, this summer, Durant spent a Friday night hopping on a Twitter Space to argue with a handful of users—each with but a few dozen followers to their name—to argue about his legacy and whether he’s a top five player, and, of course, call their takes “trash.” At varying points he accused the users of not being real fans of his—a familiar refrain echoed by Gomez toward her own fans last week. It was a busy off-season for the 13-time All-Star, between arguing with fans on Twitter about whether offense is more important than defense, and accusing others of “making shit up.”

Look, I don’t pretend to understand the psychology of mega-celebrities. I don’t pretend to know what would or wouldn’t bring Gomez and Durant inner peace. I’m but a humble blogger, and the nastiness of the internet compelled me to turn off nearly all comments and DM functions on my personal social media accounts a long time ago…and my standard of living improved overnight. I can’t help but wonder if Gomez—or any celebrity with an apparent, unhealthy addiction to engaging with fans and haters online—would benefit dramatically from signing off for a minute to just enjoy being very rich offline instead. There’d certainly be a void in entertainment and comedy in the world, but Gomez and Durant have already supplied enough memes to the masses for a lifetime.

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