Justin Bieber has been criticised for fooling fans into thinking he and wife Hailey were expecting a baby.
The 25-year-old singer posted two images on Instagram on Monday that suggested Hailey was pregnant. It turned out to be an April Fool’s prank, but many failed to see the funny side.
The first post features a fake sonogram taken from the internet and the second depicts Hailey lying down at a medical examination with her hands on her stomach.
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After allowing his fans to think the newlyweds were expecting a child for more than an hour, Bieber shared a third image of a sonogram with a photo of a puppy superimposed on it alongside the caption: “Wait omg is that a… APRIL FOOLS [sic]”.
While the post prompted a flurry of amused comments, including ones from singer Ariana Grande and Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, it also elicited a series of critical responses, particularly among those with fertility issues.
“I hope you and your wife never have to experience what infertility or the loss of a pregnancy feels like because I guarantee this would no longer be ‘funny’ to you,” wrote one person in a comment that has since been liked more than 500 times.
“You’re an awful waste of a human,” added another. “I hope you never have to feel the heartbreak that comes with sitting on the bathroom floor staring at a negative pregnancy test over and over again.”
The outrage migrated over to Twitter, where people were quick to point out that miscarriages are incredibly common – the NHS estimates that one in eight pregnancies end in miscarriage – a fact that renders jokes about pregnancy highly insensitive.
“PREGNANCY IS NOT A JOKE,” wrote one person. “Many do want kids and cannot have them. Shame on @justinbieber for thinking this is funny.”
Another added: “Wow.@justinbieber and@haileybieber are the epitome of ignorance and insensitivity. I can only hope they receive enough backlash to learn from this.”