Obsessive fans have always been known to go to extremes to get the attention of their idols, but Justin Bieber fans have taken their devotion to a disturbing and horrifying level this week. After Bieber was photographed smoking marijuana in California, where recreational use of the drug is illegal, his young fans were understandably disappointed.
The #CutForBieber campaign began when a group of people posted photos of slashed wrists and bloody blades with the hashtag #CutForBieber, urging fans to self-harm in “protest” of Bieber’s alleged drug use.
The initial posts were made as an incredibly harmful, disgusting prank, by members of the infamous 4chan message board. A user posted a message stating, “Let’s start a cut yourself for bieber campaign. Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because bieber was smoking weed. See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves.”
It appears that the campaign worked, as fans devastated by the news that their idol smoked marijuana began posting photos of their own self-harm. “@justinbieber stop smoking weed or I might actually kill myself,” one fan wrote, tweeting a gruesome photo of a teenage girl’s carved-up arm. Zap2it will not be linking to the shocking tweet.
The #CutForBieber hashtag had varying results. Some fans followed suit, essentially hoping to pressure Bieber into giving up drugs for the sake of his fans. Others mocked it, posting photos of themselves cutting paper with scissors tagged with #cutforbieber. The vast majority of tweets about the hashtag were horrified onlookers, appalled by the drastic and terrible actions of the fans.
As people caught on, the tag began trending in the United States. Even Bieber’s pal Miley Cyrus weighed in, tweeting, “#cut4bieber? Cutting is NOT something to joke about. There are people
who are actually suffering from self-harm, this is so disrespectful.”
For his part, Bieber has yet to respond.
There are plenty of healthy ways to fight against drug use. Look up your local anti-drug coalition, or make a pledge to be drug-free. If you’re struggling with self-harm, you can call 1-800-DONT-CUT for more information, or if you’re having a crisis, the 24-hour hotline 1-800-273-TALK is available for emergencies. To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to helping people who struggle with depression, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. The hotline 1-877-332-7333 is also available specifically for teens.