Chrissy Teigen, John Legend accuse Michael Costello of faking DMs for bullying allegations
Chrissy Teigen and her husband John Legend are breaking their silence on bullying allegations levied by fashion designer Michael Costello.
In a lengthy Twitter statement Friday, Teigen accused Costello of faking screenshots that allegedly show the model threatening the designer's career in Instagram direct messages he said Teigen sent him in 2014.
According to Insider and Huffington Post, Costello posted the since-deleted images on his Instagram account Monday, writing in the caption that Teigen accused him of racism in an Instagram comment at the time. Costello added that Teigen and her stylist friend Monica Rose made sure he lost out on professional opportunities and that he contemplated suicide as a result of their bullying.
But on Friday, Teigen shared a statement claiming Costello's purported screenshots contain inconsistencies proving they are doctored. These inconsistencies, according to her statement, include her account's old profile photo, which Teigen changed in 2016; an icon for Instagram's video chat function, which wasn't launched until 2018; and a color scheme that wasn't added to the app until 2020.
"The old profile picture and these new Instagram features could not co-exist in the same authentic screenshot," the statement says.
Teigen's statement also says Rose was not part of the model's team until 2016 and that the stylist did nothing to harm Costello.
Though Teigen's statement says the model did post a comment on Costello's Instagram when he was publicly accused of making a racist remark, it says she deleted her comment after Costello claimed the accusation was based on a photoshopped comment.
"Chrissy has 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."
In his own set of tweets, Legend said Teigen's alleged DM exchange with Costello was "made up, completely fake, never 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. Receipts below: https://t.co/Toh2rjTXNS
— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 18, 2021
"Honestly I don’t know why anyone would fake DMs to insert themselves in this narrative, but that's what happened," he added. "I encourage everyone who breathlessly spread this lie to keep that same energy when they correct the record"
Costello later addressed Legend in a statement of his own Twitter.
"Thought about whether I should write this or not, but I have to," the designer wrote. "If someone were to say anything about my family, I would defend them to the max. I understand where you are coming from @JohnLegend. I respect and love your music. I even have four of your songs on my playlist, not that you care."
— Michaelcostello (@mikecostello) June 18, 2021
He added: "But your wife has hurt good people and done a lot of shady things offline to ruin other people's careers. You may not know that but she does."
Legend offered a short reply: "Bruh. Stop. You know you made all this up. Please just stop."
Later Friday, Costello posted a statement on Instagram doubling down on his allegation that Teigen went "out of her way to close doors to my career" and that he has "receipts of emails and confirmations" to prove it.
"The fact that Chrissy Teigen and her crisis team are working so hard, so strategically to come out against the DM's she sent me, and to downplay the comments she publicly posted on my Instagram, only proves that she is the same bully she has always been, despite her fake apology to the public," he wrote.
Costello added he won't be commenting further on the controversy and will be stepping away from social media "for my mental health." In a separate post, he also expressed thanks for those "who have wished me love, peace, and positivity."
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Teigen, Legend, Costello and Rose for further comment.
Costello shared the screenshots on Instagram the same day Teigen returned to Twitter to apologize for her history of cyberbullying, weeks after old tweets of hers resurfaced.
Chrissy Teigen is apologizing for her bullying and mean tweets. Is forgiveness possible?
"I know I’ve been quiet, and lord knows you don’t want to hear about me, but I want you to know I’ve been sitting in a hole of deserved global punishment, the ultimate 'sit here and think about what you’ve done,'" Teigen wrote in a blog post Monday.
Last month, Teigen was exposed for publicly harassing Courtney Stodden, who was told to kill themself when they were 16. Teigen's track record of bullying also included mean tweets directed at Avril Lavigne, Lindsay Lohan and Republican politician Sarah Palin.
"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. "I’m truly ashamed of them. As I look at them and understand the hurt they caused, I have to stop and wonder: How could I have done that?"
Following the backlash against Teigen, the cleaning brand Safely, which Teigen launched earlier this year with Kris Jenner, announced on Instagram Friday that the model will be stepping away from the company "to focus on herself and be with her family."
Courtney Stodden doubts Chrissy Teigen's apology, calls her 'wokeness' a 'broken record'
If you or someone you know may be struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text "HOME" to 741741.
Contributing: Jenna Ryu
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chrissy Teigen, John Legend say Michael Costello doctored bullying DMs