News & Politics

Don't Cancel Cyber Bully Chrissy Teigen. Sue Her!

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Chrissy Teigen, the Cancel Culture Queen—who reveled in or led more than one Twitter mob to chase down targets and hang their heads on spikes for the world to watch in horror —is having another #MeToo moment as another victim has come forward. #SurvivingChrissy is trending on Twitter. One particularly disturbing allegation is by fashion designer Michael Costello, who brought receipts in the form of private messages Teigen sent him telling him to commit suicide and promising he’ll never work again. Costello released screenshots of a private message as evidence that Teigen threatened him. One message read: “Racist people like you deserve to suffer and die. You may as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch!”

Costello also released an open letter on Instagram about what he’s been through.

In 2014, I received a public comment from Chrissy Teigen on my Instagram page, accusing me of being a racist. She apparently formed her own opinion of me based on a photoshopped comment floating around the internet which has now been proven to be false by Instagram and since taken down. 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.

And 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. 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.

 

Twitter and social media are, of course, doing what they do and “canceling” Chrissy Teigen now. But is that the right response? Definitely not. I’m all for a good public shaming but this calls for much more permanent action. I see a great defamation lawsuit. Jon Del Arroz, a conservative science fiction author, just triumphed over very similar claims against Worldcon for banning him and harming him financially by calling him a “racist” publicly. Worldcon was forced to pay him restitution and issue a public apology. And Worldcon’s statements, in that case, were milquetoast compared to the things Teigen has written publicly about people.

If Teigen’s victims all come together, they could have a nice class-action lawsuit against her and anyone else who can be proven to have engaged in this behavior, which brings financial and emotional ruin to people. This is what our justice system is for. Internet justice isn’t the way forward. Make a real judge and jury decide what happens to her. If the allegations are true, this is cyberbullying, intimidation, defamation, and maybe even stalking (if a lawyer were to get creative). Her alleged victims can be made whole. And that is what they deserve, not this apology that Teigen has put out (for the second time) where she still believes that nothing is going to happen to her other than having the sads in her mansion.

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”. 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.

As you know, a bunch ofmy 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 apologized 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. It’s like my own version of that show My Name is Earl! I understand that they may not want to speak to me. I don’t think I’d like to speak to me. (The real truth in all of this is how much I actually cannot take confrontation.) But if they do, I am here and I will listen to what they have to say, while apologizing through sobs.

Teigen’s propensity for encouraging people to commit suicide could get her in serious legal trouble and I think she’s lucky no one (that we know of) has committed the act. There have been cases where cyberbullies have been held legally liable for the deaths of their intended targets.

While I’m not a lawyer, I think the victims should absolutely seek legal counsel. This seems like a slam-dunk case to me. She’s admitted the behavior. Now what remains to be discovered is how many people she harmed, how much financial and emotional distress she caused, and how much it will take to make it whole. I think Teigen should not only be sued civilly and pay restitution but should be charged criminally as well. Are people allowed to cyberbully others through threats and intimidation and stalk them at work and exact revenge like this or not? I think we have laws about this.

According to Harvard,

Federal law provides some tools to combat cyberstalking. Under 18 U.S.C. 875(c), it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, to transmit any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another. Section 875(c) applies to any communication actually transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce – thus it includes threats transmitted in interstate or foreign commerce via the telephone, e-mail, beepers, or the Internet. ..

Five years in prison sounds pretty good to me. Not only would it deliver an actual consequence for Teigen’s actions, but it would send a loud and clear message that Cancel Culture is over—unless you want to go to jail for it. Teigen may have just saved Western Culture from the mob!