The world has a lot to say about “cancel culture”—whether or not it works, or if it even exists in the first place.
Oftentimes though, what some folks deem as “cancellation” is nothing more than the sharp, hot feeling of someone holding them accountable for the things they’ve done. And nobody likes that feeling.
Famous or not, nobody likes it when someone holds a mirror up to their face and shows them all the wrong they did or all the harm they caused—and demands they acknowledge and take ownership of that wrong and harm and get on the path of some serious course correction. It happens to the best (and worst) of us from time to time though and if you need proof of that, look no further than Chrissy Teigen.
For context, the model and cookbook author recently made her return to Twitter in the form of a lengthy apology (posted on Medium) after a nearly month-long break. Why the break, you ask? Well back in March, TV personality Courtney Stodden posted a series of since-deleted Instagram videos detailing the myriad of crass and abhorrent jokes Teigen made about them (Stodden is nonbinary and uses they/them) at the beginning of the 2010s and into 2011.
Vox with the scoop:
Stodden first became famous in 2011, when at the age of 16 they married 50-year-old acting coach Doug Hutchison. (Stodden is nonbinary.) Stodden and Hutchinson are now divorced, and from the vantage point of 2021, it’s clear that during their marriage, Stodden was a child who was being abused by an adult man. But in 2011, Stodden was widely considered to be someone ridiculous and mockable, someone whose feelings you didn’t have to care about. People called them “the child bride” and made vicious jokes at their expense. Teigen was not only one of many to make those jokes, but did so in a particularly brutal fashion, directing them right at Stodden.
“I experienced so much harassment and bullying from her when I was just 16 years old,” Stodden said of Teigen in an Instagram video in March of 2021. “At a time when I needed help. I was being abused.”Stodden revealed multiple tweets Teigen sent to them at the beginning of the 2010s. “my Friday fantasy: you. dirt nap. mmm baby,” Teigen tweeted at Stodden in 2011. In another tweet, she simply wrote, “I hate you.”
“It really affected me,” Stodden said in their Instagram video. “It’s so damaging when you have somebody like Chrissy Teigen bullying children.”
Then in May, the Daily Beast published an interview with Stodden where they went into further detail about just how bad Teigen’s bullying tweets were. That article understandably went viral and caused a chain of reactions.Teigen issued a series of apology tweets not too long after and then went on a short hiatus until today.
In her apology letter, titled Hi Again, Teigen talks about how she had been “sitting in a hole of deserved global punishment, the ultimate ‘sit here and think about what you’ve done’” and acknowledged the fact that there was “simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets.
“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?,” she wrote in part.
“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. 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. And I am so sorry.”
She concludes by saying, “I have so much love to give if you are open and willing to accept it. And if not, that’s okay too. That’s something I work on being more okay with every day. I know I let you down, but I hope I can make you proud. It’s been a heavy few weeks, so I’m going to take some more time to focus on things that are most important — being with my family and taking care of myself. We are all more than our worst moments. I won’t ask for your forgiveness, only your patience and tolerance. I ask that you allow me, as I promise to allow you, to own past mistakes and be given the opportunity to seek self improvement and change.”