Chrissy Teigen and her team are firing back at accusations that the embattled model threatened to destroy the career of designer Michael Costello, who claims Teigen’s alleged threats led him to contemplate suicide.
On Thursday, a representative for the “Cravings” author told Insider that the purported Instagram direct messages exchanged between Teigen and Costello in 2014 are fake. On Friday, Teigen addressed the matter herself, releasing a lengthy statement on Twitter calling out the “fabricated” screenshots and the many online interactions she’d had with Costello over the years that led her to believe they had a “cordial relationship.”
Her caption read, “No idea what the f-ck Michael Costello is doing. 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. So while he conjures those up (hopefully with someone more talented in fakes this time), here.”
Costello shared the since-deleted screenshots on Instagram Monday along with the revelation that Teigen’s alleged bullying and blacklisting made him suicidal. But inconsistencies noted by Insider seem to substantiate the Teigen’s team’s claim that the images are doctored.
First of all, the images correctly feature Teigen’s profile picture from 2014 (according to archived images of her profile) and the “verified” check mark is missing from her handle, a distinction she did not receive until 2015. These elements place the time of screenshotting in 2014, the time of the alleged cyberbullying.
But there is a video chat icon at the top of the image despite video chat not being introduced on the platform until June 2018. The messages in the images also have purple and blue backgrounds, a design change that wasn’t implemented until February 2020.
So, if Costello screenshotted the conversation in 2014, the images would not include the video chat icon or the purple and blue messages. Conversely, if they were taken more recently, they would reflect Teigen’s verified account and a more updated profile picture, which she has changed multiple times in the last seven years according to archived pictures of her account.
Temporal inconsistencies are a common sign of manipulated imagery.
Costello found success in the fashion industry following a stint on Season 8 of “Project Runway” in 2010. Notably, he dressed Beyoncé for the Grammy Awards in 2014, garnering national attention.
In the alleged messages, Teigen appears to tell Costello that, “Racist people like you deserve to suffer and die. You might as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch.” Costello asserts that the whole spat began over screenshots of Costello using the n-word online that he too claims were Photoshopped.
In an additional statement shared to his Instagram on Wednesday, Costello announced he was “not going to address any more issues in regards to false statements proven to be false, false stories from those aspire to clout chase, and false allegations made by those close to my bullies in an attempt to smear my name.”
Costello’s accusation arrives on the heels of Teigen’s latest public apology in which she admitted that she “was a troll, full stop,” to multiple people online, including reality star Courtney Stodden, who she said should kill themselves in private direct messages. Teigen added that there are others “who I need to say I’m sorry to.”