On Sunday night, Ariana surprised fans by bringing out Justin – another of her manager Scooter Braun’s clients – during her headlining slot at the US music festival, for a performance of his hit Sorry, which he quickly revealed had not been planned ahead of time.
Days later, E! host Morgan Stewart made fun of the performance during an appearance on Nightly Pop, specifically suggesting Justin’s vocals came in before his mouth even started moving, noting: “I did not realise it was going to be that bad.”
Justin has since hit back in a string of furious tweets, branding Morgan a “bully” for “tearing him apart” on TV.
He wrote: “Just saw a video of you ripping me to shreds saying I was lip-syncing. They played the song and I just sang overtop of it.. regardless why spend your time tearing people down. It’s People like you that are bullies at school that are making kids suicidal.
“Imagine if you spent even half the time you spend laughing at other peoples expense actually building people up and encouraging people how much positivity you could bring. What hurts about this is the fact that you have a platform to make a difference and rather than being positive you belittle people [sic]”
He continued: “Think about how awesome it felt for me to be on that stage after being away for so long the excitement and joy it gave me doing the thing i love the most, i sang to to backtrack like most cameos do this is a normal thing, and rather than try and make people feel accepted and loved you find things to pick apart like the world isn’t full of that already.. we can find something negative to say about anything or anyone.
“When are we gonna be the kind of people that find joy in adding value to one another and not tearing each other apart.. [sic]”
Ariana Grande, in a tweet that has since been deleted from her account, also weighed in, saying of the performance: “We also decided to do this ten minutes before my set started. we had 0 soundcheck, 0 rehearsal. u were singing with the back tracking like most cameos do. people are bored. people don’t know how it feels to be under such scrutiny. the world was happy to have u on stage again [sic]”
Morgan Stewart, meanwhile, has remained tight-lipped on the controversy.
Justin revealed recently that he was planning to take some time out from the spotlight before releasing new music, to focus on working through his “deep-rooted issues” and being a good husband and father, having recently married the model Hailey Bieber.
At the end of his Coachella performance, he teased that a new album was “coming soon”, though this has since been contested.