It’s been a little over a week since Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber dropped the quarantine bop “Stuck With U.” And, come on? A romantic duet by two of the biggest artists in the world, who each have some of the most devoted fans backing their work? That’s almost guaranteed to be a number 1 — a fact which Billboard confirmed when it released its Hot 100 chart on May 18.
What was and is supposed to be a moment of celebration for many artists, turned sour when rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine accused Billboard of “cheating,” and implicated Ariana in the mix. That same day, he posted an Instagram video claiming that an investigation by his team showed that six credit cards bought 30,000 units of “Stuck With U” at the last minute, thereby forcing his new song, “Gooba,” into a third place debut. “When we asked where those six credit cards linked to, Billboard said we can't disclose that information,” he said, per E! He also attributed the track to Ariana, yet did not mention Justin in his video.
Soon after, Ariana posted an Instagram screenshot of the Billboard top 10, as she typically does when she celebrates a major milestone. Though she didn’t mention Tekashi in the caption, she responded to the claims in a broad way. “I don’t give my energy to drama or strange accusations normally but this has gone a little too far,” she wrote.
“My fans bought the song. JUSTIN’s fans bought the song. OUR fans bought the song (never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE). They are ride or die motherf--kers and I thank God every day that I have them in my life. Not just when they fight for us to win (even when I ask them not to as I did this week) but because they’re some of the greatest people I know. Sales count for more than streams. U can not discredit this as hard as u try. To anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason…..), I ask u to take a moment to humble yourself.”
The only time she alluded to the rapper was at the end of her message, when she wished a hearty “congratulations to all my talented ass peers in the top ten this week. even number 3.”
For his part, Justin chimed in to corroborate, and shed further light on where 60,000 additional units showed up just before deadline. “60,000 units came because we don’t disclose our numbers until end of week,” he wrote in an Instagram story. “That’s called strategy. He [Tekashi] said 30k was bought with 6 credit cards but that is a lie. The rules are clear one credit card can buy max 4 copies. Anything over that the entire amount gets thrown out. Nielsen company checks this and found all our sales were legit because our fans are amazing and bought them. Don’t discredit our fan base with false info.”
The singer also shouted out Ariana directly at the end of his message: “This is my song with Ariana Grande and I’m honored to work with her to help raise money for a great cause,” he wrote. “If you gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it’s our song.”
That message didn’t stop Tekashi from singling Ariana out in a later Instagram video, but neither Ariana or Justin have responded again. Instead they’re focusing on the love they’re receiving from fans — and bestie Victoria Monét reminded the world that Ariana nabbed production credits on her new number 1, too. “Ari recorded HERSELF AT HOME!!,” she tweeted. “Now she’s an engineer and vocal producer of a number 1! Just say you’re impressed!”
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue