What is Cancel Club? Meaning of term as Chrissy Tiegan speaks out on mental health after Courney Stodden row

The model took to Instagram to share her feelings of being ‘lost’, and how ‘there is no winning’

American model and cookbook author Chrissy Tiegen has opened up about the impact on her mental health over what she called “Cancel Club”.

Tiegen, who is married to singer John Legend, found herself at the heart of some online controversy last month after allegations of cyber bullying were made against her.

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Chrissy Teigen attends the LA premiere of Netflix's "Between Two Ferns: The Movie" (Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)
Chrissy Teigen attends the LA premiere of Netflix's "Between Two Ferns: The Movie" (Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images)

What has Chrissy Tiegen said?

Opening up on an Instagram post, Tiegen posted a picture of her legs, with a lengthy caption discussing her current situation.

She wrote: “Iiiii don’t really know what to say here...just feels so weird to pretend nothing happened in this online world but feel like utter s**t in real life.

“Going outside sucks and doesn’t feel right, being at home alone with my mind makes my depressed head race. But I do know that however I’m handling this now isn’t the right answer.

“I feel lost and need to find my place again, I need to snap out of this, I desperately wanna communicate with you guys instead of pretending everything is okay. I’m not used to any other way!!

“Cancel club is a fascinating thing and I have learned a whollllle lot. Only a few understand it and it’s impossible to know til you’re in it. And it’s hard to talk about it in that sense because obviously you sound whiney when you’ve clearly done something wrong.

“It just sucks. There is no winning. But there never is here anyhow. All I know is I love you guys, I miss you guys, and I just needed an honest moment with you because I’m just...tired of being sick with myself all day.

“I don’t even know if it’s good to say any of this because it’s gonna get brutally picked apart but I dunno. I can’t do this silent s**t anymore! If you or someone you know has also been cancelled please let me know if there is a cancel club reunion because I could use some time off my couch! Thank u and goodbye I love u.”

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What does Tiegen mean by ‘Cancel Club’?

Tiegen is referring to others who have been “cancelled” online, terming “Cancel Club” to include all those who fall under that category.

Cancelling, and cancel culture, today refers to when someone, usually a celebrity or even a brand, receives backlash for something that they or it has said or done.

Merriam-Webster says: “The act of cancelling could entail boycotting an actor’s movies or no longer reading or promoting a writer’s works.

“The reason for cancellation can vary, but it usually is due to the person in question having expressed an objectionable opinion, or having conducted themselves in a way that is unacceptable, so that continuing to patronise that person’s work leaves a bitter taste.”

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What has Tiegen been ‘cancelled’?

Previously, Tiegen issued a handful of public apologies for her behaviour online in the past, including bullying Courtney Stodden.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, Stodden alleged: “[Teigen] wouldn’t just publicly Tweet about wanting me to take a “dirt nap” but would privately DM me and tell me to kill myself.

“Things like, “I can’t wait for you to die”.”

Screenshots of some of Teigen’s, now deleted, public Tweets previously resurfaced online at the time.

In one, Teigen wrote: “[email protected] my Friday fantasy: you. Dirt nap. mmmmmm baby.”

In another, she retweeted one of Stodden’s posts, writing: “go. to sleep. forever.”

In a Twitter thread posted in mid June, Teigen acknowledged the situation and issued an apology.

She wrote: “Not a lot of people are lucky enough to be held accountable for all their past bullshit in front of the entire world. I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention seeking troll.

“I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel. I have worked so hard to give you guys joy and be beloved and the feeling of letting you down is nearly unbearable, truly.

“These were not my only mistakes and surely won’t be my last as hard as I try but god I will try!!

“I have tried to connect with Courtney privately but since I publicly fueled all this, I want to also publicly apologize. I’m so sorry, Courtney. I hope you can heal now knowing how deeply sorry I am.

“And I am so sorry I let you guys down. I will forever work on being better than I was 10 years ago, 1 year ago, 6 months ago.”

What was her blog post about?

Following her Twitter apology, Teigen went on to post a more in depth discussion on her blog on Medium.

The post, the first of the year and second ever on the platform, simply titled “Hi again”, began by saying that Teigen has been “sitting in a hole of deserved global punishment”.

Teigen wrote: “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 explains that when she first started using Twitter, she “was insecure, immature and in a world where I thought I needed to impress strangers to be accepted”.

“If there was a pop culture pile-on, I took to Twitter to try and gain attention and show off what I at the time believed was a crude, clever harmless quip. I thought it made me cool and relatable if I poked fun at celebrities,” Teigen wrote.

In the post, she reflects that those she was attacking online were real people, and that she was “hurting young women - some who were still girls - who had feelings”.

She adds: “I’m telling you this for context, not seeking or deserving any sympathy. There’s no justification for my behavior. I’m not a victim here. The subjects of your sympathy — and mine — should be those I put down.”

Teigen ends the post by writing: “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.”

Who is Michael Costello - and what has he said?

Michael Costello, an American fashion designer and Project Runway contestant, also shared his own experiences with Teigen in an Instagram post when news of the bullying allegations against Stodden first surfaced.

Costello wrote: “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.”

He explained that in the following years, he would “book jobs only to be pulled off last minute with no explanation” and said that Teigen has gone out of her way “to threaten people and brands that if they were in any shape or form associated with me” then she wouldn’t work with them.

“So many nights I stayed awake, wanting to kill myself,” Costello revealed in the Instagram post.

Costello ended the post by writing: “To this day, I still am not able to recover from the years of trauma I have experienced.”

The Instagram post contained alleged screenshots of DM conversations with Teigen.

Costello’s Instagram account has since been deleted.

Responding to the allegations from Costello, Tiegen posted on Twitter: “No idea what the f**k Michael Costello is doing.

“He just released a statement where he didn’t at ALL acknowledge how fake the dm’s were, & now claims to have emails that don’t exist.”

In the Twitter post, Tiegen attached text images titled “Statement on behalf of Chrissy Teigen”.

In the statement, it says Teigen is “surprised and disappointed by Michael Costello’s recent attack” and that, up until the accusations, Tiegen “believed she and Mr Costello had a cordial relationship, as they had friendly online interactions for several years”.

The statement ended by saying: “Chrissy has every right to correct the record and defend her name.

“She is not interested in making Mr Costello the target of harassment or abuse from anyone claiming to support her.

“She hopes this can be a time of honest reflection and healing.”

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