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Chrissy Teigen’s team, John Legend say Michael Costello faked DMs in bullying claim


Team Chrissy Teigen is pushing back against the veracity of screengrabs that designer Michael Costello presented Monday as proof that she had bullied him in 2014 and actively campaigned against him in the insular world of celebrity fashion. Teigen’s husband, musician John Legend, is pushing back as well.

A member of the model-author-entrepreneur’s team told Insider on Thursday that screengrabs purported to be messages between Teigen and Costello were fakes.

“Several visual identifiers in the images appear to come from various iterations of Instagram and Teigen’s profile throughout the years, which is oftentimes a signature of manipulated imagery,” the subscriber-only Insider story said.

It then listed alleged “temporal inconsistencies,” including the color scheme of the messages, a missing verification mark and which profile photo was showing on the Teigen side of the alleged exchange.

In other words, things shouldn’t have looked like this at the time they were alleged to have happened.

“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 said Friday in a thread on Twitter. “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,” the singer continued, “to keep that same energy when they correct the record.”

Costello, who didn’t respond to an Insider inquiry, took himself out of the larger discussion Wednesday via another Instagram post. (As of Friday, his Instagram account has been made private.)

“I am not going to address any more issues in regards to false statements proven to be false, false stories from those who aspire to clout chase, and false allegations made by those close to my bullies in an attempt to smear my name,” he wrote, in part.

“There is much that the public doesn’t know and I forgive those who judge me based on what they’ve heard,” Costello continued. “My whole purpose of speaking my truth was that I wanted to set myself free from being bullied and blacklisted by the powers that control Hollywood and high fashion. I knew that by setting myself free and telling the truth, I am making myself even more of a target of smear campaigns.”

If the messages were faked, it would be ironic, as Costello just accused Teigen of trashing him publicly over a screengrab of a racist comment the designer said had been faked by a disgruntled former employee. And it comes on top of a Tuesday exchange he had with singer Leona Lewis that ended with him apologizing to her via his Instagram story for a 2014 incident in which she said he body-shamed her and put her in a professionally embarrassing situation.

Costello said Monday that Teigen bullied him when she joined an online fight in 2014, the same year the Season 8 “Project Runway” alumnus dressed Beyoncé for the Grammys. The initial flap was over a photo of another designer’s dress that had been posted on Costello’s Instagram account. The designer’s cousin took responsibility for posting the photo, saying she had done it sarcastically after seeing similarities in the design.

But two weeks after that mess died down, Costello claims, Teigen commented in the thread and alluded to the allegedly fake comment, saying (via Global Grind), “So you say all that racist s— and get that horrible press with people using the hashtag #michaelcostello to call you out on it, then you create a contest where you beg people to use the same tag but in a positive light. Covered up all the negative press. Genius and shady all at once. Start a PR firm. Xx.” That comment was later deleted.

Costello said he reached out to Teigen to explain that the racist comment was fake. Then he included the screengrabs in question, which show Teigen allegedly saying things like “I do not have anything to say to you. You will get what’s coming to you” and “racist people like you deserve to suffer and die. you might as well be dead. your career is over, just watch.”

The designer alleged Teigen and her stylist then embarked on a years-long, word-of-mouth campaign that cost him jobs.

“I wanted to kill myself and still am traumatized, depressed and have thoughts of suicide,” the 38-year-old designer wrote Monday on Instagram, hours after Teigen posted a lengthy apology for her behavior a decade ago against model Courtney Stodden and others. Costello was not mentioned by name in Teigen’s mea culpa.

“Not a day, not a single moment has passed where I haven’t felt the crushing weight of regret for the things I’ve said in the past,” Teigen wrote in her essay, which was posted on Medium and distributed via her social media channels.

“I was insecure, immature and in a world where I thought I needed to impress strangers to be accepted,” she wrote. “If there was a pop culture pile-on, I took to Twitter to try to gain attention and show off what I at the time believed was a crude, clever, harmless quip. I thought it made me cool and relatable if I poked fun at celebrities.

“There is simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets,” she wrote. “My targets didn’t deserve them. No one does.”

Stodden told the Daily Beast in May that Teigen “wouldn’t just publicly tweet about wanting me to take ‘a dirt nap’ but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself. Things like, ‘I can’t wait for you to die.’” She has since accepted Teigen’s public apology, though she questioned the intentions behind it.




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