Chrissy Teigen's Team Claims Michael Costello Posted Fake Screenshots of Alleged Bullying

Chrissy Teigen's team is hitting back against fashion designer Michael Costello's claims that Teigen sent him bullying direct messages on Instagram, alleging that he faked the screenshots he offered up as proof earlier this week. A team representative for Teigen told Business Insider on Thursday that the purported 2014 Instagram DMs from Teigen are fake.

The screenshots showed several temporal inconsistencies that may suggest they had been altered in some way. Examples include a missing verified checkmark next to Teigen's name, which would lead one to believe that the screenshots were taken in 2014 before Instagram's verification program launched. However, the same screengrab also featured purple and blue messages, a design that the social media platform didn't implement until 2020.

The screenshots — which Costello shared on Monday as part of his post claiming that he suffered intense bullying at the hands of Teigen — also showed a video chat icon, something that was introduced to the platform in 2018. Teigen's profile photo was one that she changed no later than 2016, Business Insider reports.

In a lengthy Medium post on Monday, Teigen apologized for her past hurtful tweets, writing that "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." She said that there is "no excuse for my past horrible tweets" and that her "targets didn't deserve them." Calling herself a "troll," she said that through therapy and life experiences, she has become "more empathetic."

Soon after Teigen's apology post was published, Costello claimed in a statement of his own that he has "unhealed trauma" due to alleged experiences with Teigen — particularly after she commented on his Instagram after he was accused of racism in 2014. He has claimed that a comment circulating in 2014 in which he appeared to use the N-word was faked by a former disgruntled employee.

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Alongside the statement — in which he said he was driven to suicidal thoughts due to Teigen's alleged bullying — Costello shared two unverified screenshots of the alleged DMs from Teigen. He also claimed that the comment of him appearing to use the N-word "has now been proven to be false by Instagram and since taken down." However, according to Business Insider, Instagram's fact-checking policy had not yet been implemented in 2014 and the social media platform does not remove false information.

On Wednesday, Costello said he was "not going to address any more issues in regards to false statements proven to be false, false stories from those who aspire to clout chase, and false allegations made by those close to my bullies in an attempt to smear my name."