Justin Bieber, Hailee Steinfeld, and TMZ

Lainey Posted by Lainey at May 3, 2017 20:16:21 May 3, 2017 20:16:21

TMZ reported yesterday that Justin Bieber and Hailee Steinfeld have been dating for a month but that it’s still “fresh”. Immediately afterwards her reps denied it. Also, she has a boyfriend. His name is Cameron Smoller. He just Instagrammed a shot of them together a couple of days ago:



A post shared by Known As Camelton (@cameronsmoller) on

But TMZ doubled down on their claim, updating their original post to read as follows:

A rep for Hailee says she and Justin are friends. That's her side of it.
Our sources are clear ... their relationship has left the friend zone.

Hailee was on SiriusXM Morning Mashup today and, when asked about the rumour, whether or not she’s dating JB, this was her response:

“No I am not. I know it's crazy, I don't know why people make such a big deal. We're friends, we've been friends for years and yeah.”

JB + Hailee Steinfeld isn’t the most exciting combination, at least not to me. However, the politics and the connections here are very interesting. Because Hailee is friends with Taylor Swift. Which means she has some association with Selena Gomez. Also, Taylor and Justin aren’t exactly close.

If Hailee’s with JB, does that mean it’s a break from the squad? Is that why she insists they’re not dating? Or is TMZ just wrong?

I mean, it’s possible that TMZ’s wrong. But TMZ, if you recall, is not usually wrong about Justin Bieber. In  Anne Helen Petersen’s 2014 Buzzfeed deep-dive on TMZ, she wrote about their infamous vault, and how that vault was used to protect JB. And what JB may have exchanged with TMZ in return. Last February, in The New Yorker’s TMZ deep-dive, more sources came forward to elaborate on the relationship between TMZ and JB and the piece chronicles how TMZ and JB have worked together, with TMZ benefitting from JB exclusives and JB benefitting from positive coverage.

So… given their history, how did TMZ get this one so wrong?

And if they’re not wrong, what’s actually going on?

TMZ dropped their story as we were all still processing the MET Gala. Both Hailee Steinfeld, JB’s alleged current situation, and Selena Gomez, JB’s former situation, were at the MET Gala. Selena and The Weeknd had just premiered their relationship at the event. Coincidence…or conspiracy?

1.If JB and Hailee ARE dating, and now she’s swearing up and down that they’re not, did he pursue a personal vendetta, using their nascent relationship, without her consent? If so, did that effectively kill whatever it is between them?

2.Or… maybe they actually aren’t dating, and she did give consent to him to fake out a story through TMZ about them dating, and if that’s the case, is it because she too wants to f-ck with Selena?

3.If JB and Hailee aren’t dating, is it possible that he just wanted to send a f-ck you to Selena anyway, using TMZ as a vehicle? And if that’s the case, if TMZ is willing to knowingly publish a fake story to make JB happy, what does that portend about their reporting and its legitimacy going forward? Also, what will JB owe them in return?

Topic change: we didn’t cover Hailee’s MET Gala outfit yesterday but a few of you have asked for some thoughts. It was on-theme, for sure. But I don’t think it was anywhere near the best of what we saw. There’s something about the straps that’s bothering me. What I do appreciate, however, is the topknot. It’s an outstanding topknot. Might have been the best topknot of the night, maybe even better than Rihanna’s. 

Roy Rochlin/ George Pimentel/ Karwai Tang/ Venturelli/ Matthew Eisman/ Dimitrios Kambouris/ Sean Zanni / Getty Images, Splash News

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