Recently, the internet (ahem, Twitter) has been awash with memes, cutting comments, and downright cruel commentary about Chloe Bailey. The crushing conversation has left many trying to figure out why this is happening. Whether you are a fan or not, it it feels universally understood that treatment Bailey is receiving is unwarranted. It is often argued that when celebrities sign up for fame and fortune, they must do so with the expectation they’ll also have to deal with public opinion. But at what cost?

Bailey has spoken out about her struggles with depression in interviews. It’s quite possible that the public vitriol the singer faces has triggered this mental strain.

Beyoncé’s Protege

It is true that Bailey is Beyoncé’s protege and at times it appears the young performer bears the heat for being in such close proximity to Queen Bey. There was also a recent, drawn out online debate about her latest album and whether Beyonce—who signed Bailey to her record label—should have done more to push the 24-year-old’s musical output. The question becomes, if Bailey had taken advantage of the “Beyoncé effect” for her album, would that not have also led to some form of backlash? It is almost as if Bailey can’t win when it comes to public opinion regardless of what she does or how she does it.

Several critics have thrown adjectives like “attention seeking” or “doing too much.” What this criticism seems to ignore is that Bailey is a 24-year-old woman just trying to find her way and figure out who she is. Little grace is given to her while she works to find her own voice on the world stage. When any other artists engage in sexual self expression similar to that which Bailey shares, they are often given a pass because it is part of their art. For some reason, Bailey’s expressions fail to hit the mark for the masses.

It might feel easy to jump on the “bash Chloe” bandwagon, but frankly, the world would function differently if it was governed by empathy first.