Last month, good Christian boy-turned-bad boy of pop-turned good Christian young adult Justin Bieber announced he was canceling the remaining dates of his Purpose tour. It could have had something to do with the “series of misbehaviors” that got him blacklisted in Beijing, or a need to recuperate after two years of touring, or, as TMZ reported recently, because the young pop star has “rededicated his life to Christ.”
After all, in the past couple months, Bieber has drawn ever closer to his Hillsong Church pastor Carl Lentz, the wire-frame- and baseball-cap-wearing man of God who is also the spiritual guru of Hailey Baldwin, Selena Gomez, the Jenner siblings, Nick Jonas, and Hailee Steinfeld. Last month, TMZ indicated the cancelation was due in part to Bieber’s renewed interest in the church; now, its intrepid sources are reporting it was at Hillsong’s advice that Bieber began reevaluating some of his friendships—and that led him to unfollow boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., on Instagram.
“The folks at the Hillsong Church have been counseling Justin for months on taking a hard look at his friends and pulling back from those who are bad influences,” according to TMZ. “Church pastors did not single out Floyd as a bad influence”—no, Bieber came to that conclusion on his own, hoping to “reset boundaries” with the boxer, who has a fondness for such ungodly activities as strip clubs. His history of alleged domestic abuse likely doesn’t count in his favor when Bieber is reevaluating friendships: As of 2015, Mayweather had been convicted on five separate charges of violence against women, according to the Boston Globe.
Yet Bieber and Mayweather have been close for several years: As far back as 2012, Bieber accompanied the boxer into the ring for his fight against Miguel Cotto and posed alongside 50 Cent and Lil Wayne after the boxer’s victory. Shortly after Mayweather announced his retirement in 2015, the two were spotted vacationing in Bora Bora together. But when some began to wonder if Bieber would reprise his role as Mayweather’s unofficial escort with his return to the ring to take on Conor McGregor this weekend, Mayweather responded, “Nah, Bieber found Jesus and he’s somewhere prayed up,” according to Complex. Bieber, for his part, told TMZ—the intrepid documentarians of all things Bieber-Mayweather—he didn’t think Mayweather would knock out McGregor in their bout this weekend, though he anticipated Mayweather would nevertheless emerge victorious. (Mayweather, Sr., had some tart words for Bieber in response.)
So perhaps Mayweather might have seen Bieber’s Instagram slight coming, given their relationship has cooled recently. But Mayweather reportedly “went ‘insane, nuclear,’” a friend told TMZ, when he learned Bieber had unfollowed him, calling him a “traitor.” Bieber, meanwhile, is working on new music while working on self-improvement: On Friday, he released a new track with BloodPop entitled “Friends.” Subliminal messaging optional.
*Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner read Justin Bieber's "Baby":