Following weeks of radio silence that rang perhaps even louder than the wile words from her past, actress and model Chrissy Teigen has finally stepped up to the plate and spoken out about her past history of bullying – a nasty past full of hateful messages and social media posts that have recently come back to haunt the mother of two, even years later.
Teigen, who’s married to singer John Legend and whose claim to fame includes taking photos for magazines and co-“hosting” shows like Lip Sync Battle, found herself in the spotlight for an entirely different reason some weeks ago when old messages she’d sent to other Hollywood starlets and personalities came to light.
In one particularly disturbing exchange, Teigen repeatedly sent messages to reality TV star Courtney Stodden, who was just 16 at the time, encouraging the teen to kill herself amid a public firestorm over Stodden’s alarming marriage to 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchinson.
And unfortunately, Stodden wasn’t the only one the adult Teigen publicly harassed and bullied. In a detailed post on Instagram, Project Runway contestant Michael Costello says Teigen took aim at him in 2012 after an online hoax accused him of making racist comments. When Costello reached out to Teigen to explain the entire thing had been photoshopped and that he’d never actually made the comments he was being accused of, he says Teigen told him he’d be “better off dead” and that his career was over. Costello claimed the model/actress harassed him so badly on Twitter that he even considered suicide, particularly after losing jobs he later heard were due to Teigen’s activism behind the scenes.
Teigen also reportedly mocked a drug-addicted and suicidal Lindsey Lohan on Twitter, saying the struggling actress "adds a few more slits to her wrists every time she sees emma stone [sic]." She once called Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham a "whore," and publicly took aim at Demi Lovato following the singer's stint in rehab for an eating disorder, joking that she [hoped [Lovato] made the bed for Charlie [Sheen]."
Teigen also has a well-documented history of harassing and threatening conservative women on social media over their political views. Her favorite method? Encouraging people to kill themselves and telling them the world would be better off without them.
Now, following nearly a decade of getting away with it and only after getting called out publicly herself, Teigen says she’s sorry – a sentiment that took her nearly 10 years, an embarrassing public revelation, and nearly a month of self-reflection to finally express.
In a lengthy blog post published on Medium, the 35-year-old says she’s been struggling for weeks under the “crushing weight of regret for the things I've said in the past.”
"There is simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets," wrote Teigen, who is married to singer John Legend. "I was a troll, full stop. And I am so sorry."
But it wasn’t “full stop” – not by a long shot. In the span of several more tearfully crafted paragraphs, Teigen sought to explain why she’d been such an inexcusable jerk to people she’d never even met, blaming the “instant gratification” she’d gotten when humiliating a stranger in public.
"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," she said. "In reality, I was insecure, immature and in a world where I thought I needed to impress strangers to be accepted.”
Which begs the question: why did Teigen, a grown adult herself at the time she was harassing other celebrities, ever think it would “impress strangers” or make her “cool and relatable” to encourage people, including teenagers, to slit their own wrists? In what larger societal arena was such behavior ever considered laudable? Who, pray tell, was Teigen thinking she’d “impress”?
But regardless of whether Teigen thinks she had a viable excuse for telling a clearly disturbed and abused 16-year-old girl to off herself is hardly the point - though it does call into question whether the actress has truly “grown” since, considering it took a massive public scandal and a threat to her multi-million-dollar empire for her to finally reach out and apologize.
The real point, in fact, is simple: there’s no apology, no matter how heartfelt, how sincerely written, or how devoid of lame excuses and pitiful justifications, that will ever be good enough. Because those are now the rules.
Earlier this year, long-time Bachelor host Chris Harrison found himself in the hot seat after he had the audacity to publicly defend Rachael Kirkconnell, a 24-year-old Bachelor contestant, from accusations of racism after photos surfaced showing her having attended an antebellum-themed frat party in college. Harrison’s cancel-worthy crime? Simply pointing out, in a few short sentences, that antebellum-themed parties weren’t considered as offensive when the photo was snapped six years ago as they are in our current “woke” culture, and that a young woman shouldn’t be utterly destroyed in the public sphere today and held to account for the rest of her life for having once dressed up in a Gone-With-the-Wind-era outfit back in college when she was 18.
Related: Chrissy Teigen Pens Obnoxious Apology Letter For Her Mean Tweets
“We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” Harrison had said at the time. “Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record. It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this.”
That simple statement, uttered just one time in one interview, not only resulted in Harrison getting torn apart on social media, it also ultimately got him booted off the show he’d successfully hosted for nearly 20 years. Not only that, Harrison’s canning came after he had already issued a groveling apology – one that, unlike Teigen’s, was totally empty of excuses – for having supposedly “defended racism” (even though he hadn’t – not by a long shot), and after he’d said publicly that he’d been meeting with a “race educator” to work on the supposed unconscious biases he hadn’t even realized he had.
But none of that was good enough to save the 49-year-old’s reputation, or his career. In fact, it was formally announced just this week that Harrison had been officially kicked off The Bachelor over the “scandal.”
So far, since being revealed as a self-absorbed, violently-minded bully, Teigen’s signature cookware products have been dropped from at least three major retailers, including Target, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s. She was also booted from marketing rollout plans for Safely, a cleaning company she’d started with Kris Jenner. Under mounting public pressure, she recently withdrew from Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, a show that, ironically, centers around a young 15-year-old South Asian girl struggling through her socially awkward teen years as a high school student in L.A.
Even still, retailers including Kohl’s, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Amazon are continuing to sell Teigen’s kitchen products and signature cookbook.
Which, as an avid critic of “cancel culture,” might be at least somewhat acceptable, even given Teigen's bumbling "apology" – if we lived in sane world that accepted apologies at all, or allowed room for personal growth, demanded accountability but coupled it with grace, and acknowledged that tormenting people over their past mistakes without end leads to a society in which no one can stumble, not for a single moment. But we don’t.
Instead, we live in a world in which the progressive left has demanded the heads of anyone outside their political ideology that steps out of line – or even appears to. In fact, all it takes for the liberal lynch mob to tear a person to shreds, publicly and with gleeful malice, is for someone to believe you’ve done something “offensive,” regardless of whether those actions met any realistic definition of the word. And for those who find themselves in such a spot, there is no recourse.
So no, these retailers shouldn’t tell Teigen’s products. In fact, the backlash against Teigen shouldn’t stop until every single retailer and online distributor has dropped every product associated with Teigen’s name from their shelves. Her name should never again grace the credits of any program, album, movie, streaming project, or reality TV show from now until the end of time. Magazines and online publishers and marketing firms should refuse to book her for shoots. For that matter, companies should retroactively pull products that featured Teigen from their archives and scrub websites of old mentions of her name. It should be harder for Teigen to find a job in Hollywood than for Michael Moore to fit in a standard-sized diner booth.
Because there is no room for mercy. No room for personal growth. No space for apologies, no grave in which to bury the past, no measure of forgiveness. No societal acceptance that people are fallible, fickle creatures prone to making haunting and cringe-worthy mistakes at the expense of others. There should be no grace for Teigen, and her past should follow her for the rest of her days.
Because those are the rules liberals, including Teigen, have decided others must play by. And the rules will never change unless those who made them are forced to abide by them just the same.