The Rise and Fall of Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen at arrivals for Glamour Women of the Year Awards, Spring Studios, New York, NY November 12, 2018. Photo By: Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection

This article was originally published in the Women’s Republic.

Contains mentions of abuse and harassment.

The former queen of Twitter, Chrissy Teigen has finally fallen from her high grace. She has been the centre of many controversies due to her tweets which targeted young girls at the time of the incidents. Teigen is a model and television personality, who has released cookbooks over the years and hosted Lip Sync Battle. Her feed consists of quirky jokes that poke fun at Donald Trump and uncensored thoughts about anything. But sometimes these jokes come at the expense of other people and that is where the problem lies.

Not everything is filtered on Teigen’s Twitter feed. Years ago, she insulted and harassed Quvenzhané Wallis, commenting on how bratty she is and DM’ed Courtney Stodden (Stodden identities as non-binary) privately, stating to “kill themselves”. Due to these claims being brought on the internet, Teigen has issued multiple apologies, on Twitter and a lengthy Medium post, addressing the damage that she had done in the past. She has gone further to admit that she was a troll. Teigen never made any mention of her trolling charade towards Wallis and Stodden, rather admitted that what she did was wrong and apologized to her millions of followers. The backlash that she faced was expected as many Twitter users believed that Teigen should have addressed what she had done in the past, especially to Wallis.

“Is it okay to call a small child cocky?”

At the 2013 Oscars, then 9-year-old Wallis was in attendance due to being nominated for her performance as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild. After that Teigen made some comments that implied that Wallis was bratty while at the ceremony. These tweets were well documented by several media outlets. Teigen suggested that since everyone at the ceremony liked Wallis, she must also be forced to like her as well. Teigen’s tweet read, “I am forced to like Quvenzhané Wallis because she is a child right? okay fine.” Then she continued her hateful comments by tweeting, “is it okay to call a small child cocky?”

These hateful comments towards a 9-year-old Wallis were not addressed by Teigen in her recent apologies. Many questioned where Teigen’s apology for Wallis was as she had never addressed them publicly. Writer Clarkisha Kent tweeted, “Apologize to Quvenzhané Wallis as well. Additionally you’re still a troll so you might not want to use that in the past tense. I hope that this is the day you realize that some of the things come with their own punishment & that projecting your self-hate onto others isn’t “quirky”. Seek help.” While Teigen’s past of constant bullying and harassment towards minors is reprehensible, her apology also does not address her harassment and insults towards a Black girl, making everything that she has done so far disingenuous.

Teigen’s field day with Courtney Stodden

Stodden, who at the age of 16, was married to 50-year-old Doug Hutchison, most famously known for his role as Victor Tooms on The X Files. After their marriage, Stodden was subjected to a lot of negative media storm as people prodded and sexualised their body. She was scrutinized at a young age but the reality was that as a young teenager they were unaware of Hutchison’s predation. Stodden was branded a “teen bride” and was ridiculed for their behaviour, breasts and heavy makeup.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Stodden addressed Hutchison’s abuse and grooming. Stodden and Hutchison are now divorced but their marriage is still traumatic for her. Though, Teigen was not the only one to make jokes about her, her consistent harassment and bullying towards them left significant impacts her mentally. In multiple tweets and messages, Teigen expressed her hatred towards them and told them to kill themselves.

Stodden’s treatment was cruel and undeserving as they were minors and was not aware of Hutchison’s grooming. Instead of sending hateful messages to them, Stodden mentions that all they needed was help as they were being abused. Teigen made a thread on Twitter addressing Stodden’s interview and apologized to her. In her tweet, she mentions that she wants to be held accountable for her actions. Teigen admitted that she was insecure and an attention-seeking troll and none of it compared to how it made Stodden feel. Teigen further explains that she had tried to apologize to Stodden privately but since it was public, she decided to address the apology publicly. In a post on Instagram, Stodden accepted her apology but mentioned that Teigen and her team had not reached out to her to apologize.

The problem with Teigen’s apologies

In June, Teigen published a lengthy post on Medium addressing her past for bullying and harassing people on Twitter. She mentioned that she had publicly apologised to one person and that there were several more people that she had to reach out to. Teigen admitted that was a troll and when she first started using social media it was all for fun. She took to Twitter to gain attention and poked fun at celebrities and made comments about pop culture moments. Now, reflecting on all of that she recognises that her past behaviour was horrible. She admits that she is not the same person as she was before and states that, “We are all more than our worst moments.”

Many Twitter users highlighted that her apology is not an apology because it does not address what she had done wrong in the past. She does not mention the people that she had hurt, mainly Wallis and Stodden, to which Teigen has not apologized to the former name directly. She addresses these problems and people indirectly and when her millions of followers are reading it, it is not very honest. It’s staggering at the number of people that have accepted that length post as an apology when it is Wallis and Stodden that should have been addressed directly.

It’s become a norm for celebrities to make blanket statements of apologies for their terrible past behaviour and none of them makes a genuine attempt to recognize what they had done wrong. In the case of Teigen, her apology does not address the number of death threats that Stodden received and the harassment towards a 9-year-old Wallis. Teigen’s sudden realisation of personal growth was really her downfall, and her apologies were misdirected to her audience rather than her victims.

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