Chrissy Teigen and designer Michael Costello clash over bullying claims

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Chrissy Teigen claims the Instagram messages posted by Michael Costello are fake — and she's coming out with her own receipts. 

The clash between Teigen and Costello began earlier this week. Shortly after the 35-year-old publicly apologized for past "awful" tweets, Costello came forward and said he's "traumatized, depressed and has thoughts of suicide" because of the model's alleged bullying behavior years ago. The fashion designer offered purported screenshots of a direct message from 2014 as proof, which Teigen says is fabricated.  

"No idea what the f*** Michael Costello is doing," Teigen tweeted on Friday. "He just released a statement where he didn’t at ALL acknowledge how fake the dm's were, & now claims to have emails that don't exist."

Teigen included a lengthy statement, in full below, debunking the DMs. She then included screenshots of her own that seem to show friendly messages Costello sent her over the past three years. The cookbook author's statement also appears to hit back at Courtney Stodden's claim that Teigen sent her direct messages telling her to kill herself. (Teigen previously apologized to Stodden for cruel, public tweets.) 

Chrissy Teigen very clearly and contritely apologized for insensitive public tweets she made around a decade ago. She did not acknowledge nor apologize for sending private messages directing or encouraging self harm.

Chrissy is completely surprised and disappointed by Michael Costello's recent attack, which includes fictional 'screenshots' from 2014 of supposed private messages that Chrissy did not send. In October 2014, she did post a comment on Mr. Costello's Instagram when he was publicly accused of making a racist remark. After he denied the accusation, and claimed it was based on a photoshopped comment, Chrissy deleted the comment, as was reported at the time. Chrissy has never conspired with anyone to harm his career. The stylist he also attacked in his recent comments was not a part of Chrissy's team until 2016 and did nothing to harm Mr. Costello.

Until Mr. Costello's recent accusations, Chrissy believed she and Mr. Costello had a cordial relationship, as they had friendly online interactions for several years. In one from 2018, he commented on an Instagram story photo and said her lipstick 'looks beautiful.' Another from 2019, said a photo of food 'looks amazing.' On January 28, 2019 he asked her 'Are you going to the Grammys?' Over the years, Chrissy suggested her stylists connect with Mr. Costello for red carpet events, but ultimately other designers' work was chosen. Recently, more claims of Costello's alleged racist comments and treatment have come to light, but Chrissy has only just now learned of them and, until now, thought she and Mr. Costello were on positive terms.

When the supposed screenshots from 2014 were originally circulated last week, the name on Chrissy's account was misspelled. Several media outlets recognized this and chose not to run it, since it was clearly manipulated. This week, the fabricated screenshots were cleaned up with the correct spelling of Chrissy's social media handle; however, they could not actually be from 2014 because they feature elements that were not a part of the Instagram app in 2014. A closer look at the alleged 2014 screenshots plainly shows that they feature her old profile photo that was changed in 2016, alongside a video chat function that Instagram did not launch until 2018. In addition, the alleged 2014 screenshots also include a color format which Instagram launched in 2020. The old profile picture and these new Instagram features could not co-exist in the same authentic screenshot. Recent media investigations have confirmed these inconsistencies as well.

Chrissy has a acknowledged her past behavior and the pain she has caused, but she will not stand for anyone spreading false accusations to further demean her name and reputation. Chrissy will continue to do the work she needs to do to be the best person she can be. She hopes Michael Costello can do the same.

Chrissy has every right to correct the record and defend her name. She is not interested in making Mr. Costello the target of harassment or abuse from anyone claiming to support her. She hopes this can be a time of honest reflection and healing.

John Legend also came to his wife's defense on Friday.

"Chrissy apologized for her public tweets, but after her apology, Mr Costello fabricated a DM exchange between them. This exchange was made up, completely fake, never happened," Legend wrote in a series of tweets. "Honestly I don't know why anyone would fake DMs to insert themselves in this narrative, but that’s what happened. I encourage everyone who breathlessly spread this lie to keep that same energy when they correct the record."

Costello issued a statement earlier on Friday standing by his story after a member of Teigen's team claimed the direct messages were manipulated.

"The fact that Chrissy Teigen’s team is desperately trying to prove the DM's are fake and attempts to discredit Michael Costello, a victim of trauma and bullying by Chrissy Teigen both online and offline, confirms that she remains the same bully, despite her public apology," a spokesperson for Costello tells Yahoo Entertainment.

In 2014, an unverified screenshot allegedly showed Costello using the n-word. He claimed the screenshot was fake. That allegedly prompted the supposed direct message exchange with Teigen, who purportedly called him a "racist" and said "you will get what's coming to you." 

"When a victim feels like their only recourse is to speak up, and the abuser's first move is to discredit the victim and shame him publicly, this perpetrates victim-blaming and it costs lives. Seven years ago, when Michael Costello presented Chrissy Teigen with evidence directly that the alleged racist comment she saw was fake, she refused to believe him. Now, her team is quick to discredit Michael's character in an attempt to salvage her image and partnerships negatively impacted by her decade-long problematic behavior," the statement continues.

"Beyond the DMs and the public comments Chrissy Teigen left on Michael Costello's Instagram for the world to see, there are emails and documents unreleased to the public which confirms Chrissy Teigen has gone beyond social media to blacklist Michael Costello offline, making him endure over seven years of suffering — mentally and financially," Costtello's spokesperson adds. "Michael Costello is only one of the many victims who are living with long-lasting, unhealed traumas from Chrissy Teigen's decade-long bullying behavior. Chrissy Teigen's team has yet to reach out to us, or any of her other victims."

Costello has been accused of bullying himself. First by singer Leona Lewis, although they publicly made amends, and later by Real Housewife of Atlanta star Falynn Guobadia.

Teigen has been engulfed in a bullying scandal for a month, ever since Stodden called out the model for sending harassing tweets a decade ago. The author publicly apologized saying she's "ashamed" of her behavior. Teigen took some time away from social media before resurfacing with a lengthier apology on Monday. Legend told paparazzi this week his wife is "doing great" amid the controversy. 

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. 

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