The Chrissy Teigen fallout ramps up as L.A. designer alleges ‘most inhuman treatment’

A smiling man with a beard and a sparkling black top
Michael Costello says Chrissy Teigen hurt his career after a cyberbullying episode in 2014.
(Presley Ann / Getty Images for Influencer Awards)

Chrissy Teigen apologized Monday for her history of cyberbullying, which to this point has focused on what she did to a young Courtney Stodden around 10 years ago.

Now L.A.-based designer Michael Costello has come forward with details of his devastating online encounter with the model-turned-entrepreneur, who he says accused him publicly of being a racist and then worked to hurt him professionally. What started online in late 2014 spilled over to real life, he says, and it had him considering suicide.

Plus, Costello, who came in fourth on Season 8 of “Project Runway” in 2010, has the receipts. And they make Teigen look horrible.


“I wanted to kill myself and still am traumatized, depressed and have thoughts of suicide,” the 38-year-old designer wrote Monday on Instagram, hours after Teigen’s lengthy apology went live on Medium.

“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.”

A representative for Teigen did not respond immediately Tuesday to a request for comment.

After she was called out for harassing Courtney Stodden a decade ago, Chrissy Teigen has addressed her bullying drama in a new Medium essay.

June 14, 2021

Here’s what drove Costello to the edge, as reported in October 2014 by Global Grind: The “Project Runway” alumnus was riding high that year, having dressed Beyoncé in a sheer floral gown for that year’s Grammys. Then came a social media dust-up over a dress made by another person that Costello’s co-designer had posted on Costello‘s account. Allegations of copying were made, and a screengrab of a racist comment that was attributed to Costello began circulating.

“Your just probably a dumb ... defending her,” it reportedly said, using the N-word. “I am royalty bitch! I dressed Beyonce! Who are they gonna believe!”

The Beyhive (Beyoncé’s loyal fans) began demanding that the singer and her stylist cut ties with Costello. Then his co-designer explained that she had purchased the dress, which looked very familiar to her, and posted a photo of it sarcastically.

A man and a woman wave during a celebration
Chrissy Teigen and husband John Legend celebrate Joe Biden’s presidential victory in 2020.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Costello explained in a statement on Tumblr that the racist comment was fake and had been manipulated with Photoshop and shared on Instagram via “a rogue account that has a history of attacking myself, loved ones and brands.” He said it was being investigated.

That hubbub died down, Global Grind said, until Teigen showed up two weeks later and left a comment of her own.

“So you say all that racist s— and get that horrible press with people using the hashtag #michaelcostello to call you out on it, then you create a contest where you beg people to use the same tag but in a positive light. Covered up all the negative press. Genius and shady all at once. Start a PR firm. Xx,” Teigen wrote. That comment was later deleted.

Costello said Monday that he had reached out to Teigen directly at that time to explain that the racist remark attributed to him was fake. He included screenshots of their message dialogue in his Instagram post:

“Chrissy ... can I call you?,” he asked.

“No! I do not have anything to say to you,” she replied. “You will get what’s coming to you.”


“Chrissy, I’ve never called anyone the n word,” he said in their exchange. “Those fake images were photoshopped from a former disgruntled employee.”

“Good luck with that lmao hope that story keeps your already dead career going,” she answered.

“Please call me,” he said, including a phone number. “I am suffering from this more than you can imagine. So many people are attacking me over this. It’s a fake story but your comment is adding more fuel to the fire.”

“good!,” Teigen replied. “racist people like you deserve to suffer and die. You might as well be dead. Your career is over, just watch.”

Chrissy Teigen said she’s sorry for bullying Courtney Stodden mercilessly a decade ago. But Stodden isn’t 100% sure the social media star is sincere.

May 12, 2021

After that, Costello alleged, Teigen proceeded to trash his career.

“[W]ow, did she live up to her words,” he wrote Monday. “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 [Teigen and her stylist] 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.”

Costello said he was still “not okay” after the 2014 encounter and the events that ensued.


“I may never be okay, but today, I am choosing to speak my truth,” he wrote Monday. “I wish no harm on anyone and I don’t wanna go back-and-forth fighting with anyone. I just want people to realized that I, too, am human and this was the most inhuman treatment to ever be endured by someone who has seen their decades of hard work, years of building a brand, crumble from one comment.”

Costello said he was not seeking sympathy from Teigen or anyone else who believed the falsehood that was spread about him.

“To this day, I still am not able to recover from the years of trauma I have experienced. ... I simply want to set myself free,” he wrote.

Model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen opened up on Instagram about her decision to stop drinking after reading Holly Whitaker’s ‘Quit Like a Woman.’

Dec. 31, 2020

Teigen was remorseful in her lengthy message Monday, which was also circulated on her social media accounts, where friends and fans — including Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Garner, Selma Blair and husband John Legend — showered her with love and supportive statements.

“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,” wrote the 35-year-old, who had been silent online for about a month after she was called out by Stodden for cyberbullying. Teigen apologized publicly to Stodden at the time.

On Monday she apologized again, saying, ““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 humor.


“I was a troll, full stop,” Teigen said. “And I am so sorry.”

Hours later, she wrote on Instagram about her “beautiful little pod” of kids who had just celebrated their preschool graduation and posted a photo of a new tattoo inspired by artwork from daughter Luna.