Fashion designer Michael Costello has spoken out about an alleged experience with Chrissy Teigen that he says left him feeling suicidal to this day.
In a note posted to his Instagram on June 15, the LA-based designer — who got his start on Project Runway in 2010 — said he was sharing his story in an attempt to move past the encounter that has haunted him for the last seven years.
“I didn’t want to do this but I can not be happy until I speak my mind,” he began in the lengthy post. “I need to heal and in order for me to do that I must reveal what I have been going through. I wanted to kill myself and I still am traumatized, depressed and have thoughts of suicide.”
It all began in 2014 when a photoshopped comment suggesting Costello used the N-word began circulating on the internet. Seemingly believing them to be real, Teigen then publicly commented on Costello’s Instagram page in which she accused him of being racist.
“When I reached out to Chrissy Teigen to communicate that I was the victim of a vindictive cyber slander, and that everything she thought I was is not who I am, she told me that my career was over and that all my doors will be shut from there on,” Costello continued in his post.
The mortified designer continued to privately message Teigen and this was when she allegedly wrote him a series of nasty text messages, and he included screenshots of these texts in his June 15 post.
“Chrissy… can I call you?” he wrote in the text message dated from 2014, to which she allegedly replied: “No! I do not have anything to say to you. You will get what’s coming to you.”
When he explained he never said the N-word, Teigen allegedly replied: “racist people like you deserve to suffer and die. You might as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch.”
Teigen’s alleged threats then became a reality and Costello found himself being blacklisted from the fashion industry.
“Wow, did she live up to her words. Throughout the next few years, I would book jobs only to be pulled off last minute with no explanation,” he said in his letter.
“I would regularly get texts and calls from our mutual friends and colleagues that her and Monica Rose, a powerful stylist in fashion, have gone out of their way to threaten people and brands that if they were in any shape or form associated with me, they would not work with any of them.”
Instagram has since proven the comment was indeed false and it has now been taken down from the platform. Costello remains adamant the story was a false narrative a former disgruntled employee created, but the damage to his career was done.
“So many nights I stayed awake, wanting to kill myself,” he wrote. “I didn’t see the point of living. There was no way I can ever escape from being the target of the powerful elites in Hollywood, who actually do have powers to close doors with a single text. Not only was I the target of cyber defamation, I was also getting blocklisted in real life.”
The designer’s accusation comes hours after Teigen wrote an open letter on essay-sharing site Medium, in which she apologised for her nasty Twitter behaviour many years ago. Notably, the 35-year-old had targeted young stars such as model Courtney Stodden, actress Lindsay Lohan and reality TV star Farrah Abraham.
“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. “As you know, a bunch of my old awful (awful, awful) tweets resurfaced. 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?”
“I’ve apologised publicly to one person, but there are others — and more than just a few — who I need to say I’m sorry to. I’m in the process of privately reaching out to the people I insulted … There is simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets. My targets didn’t deserve them. No one does. Many of them needed empathy, kindness, understanding and support, not my meanness masquerading as a kind of casual, edgy humour. I was a troll, full stop. And I am so sorry.”
If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.
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