Nothing brings Twitter together like the social media antics of one Chrissy Teigen.
On Wednesday, the model and Cravings founder took to her Instagram to lament her self-imposed exile from Twitter and reveal that she’s “depressed” following a rehashing of her past online behavior—particularly her bullying of a teenage Courtney Stodden, who attracted media coverage in 2011 for their marriage to 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchinson. In part, Teigen wrote in a lengthy caption:
“Iiii don’t really know what to say here...just feels so weird to pretend nothing happened in this online world but feel like utter shit 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.”
She went on to say about her “cancelled” status:
“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.”
This admission comes after several attempts by Teigen to rectify her past indiscretions, including an oddly chirpy—no pun intended— Twitter thread that was poorly received (and criticized by Stodden) and a Medium post that also missed the mark in terms of specificity and self-examination. Whether under a publicist’s instructions or of her own volition, Teigen has yet to casually utilize the social media platform that made her an A-lister since the middle of June, which for a social-media outsider may not seem like a significant amount of time. But for one of Twitter’s top denizens, who’s previously struggled to quit the app, it wasn’t totally shocking that not tweeting has left an enormous void in Teigen’s otherwise abundant life.
Nevertheless, this long-winded Instagram caption—she’s been using the photo-sharing app since the Stodden controversy—quickly became a target of criticism, mockery, and even psychoanalysis on Twitter.
“If in the future I’m an adult with money and kids but I’m still on twitter whining half as much as Chrissy Teigen i’m actually asking you to cancel me,” tweeted one user.
“When you was calling people out on their shit, it wasn’t a problem,” said another user, “but when you have to take accountability it’s cancel club and culture is a menace and ridiculous and can be ridiculed. Interesting.”
To many, Teigen’s comments about being in the “cancel club” seem to indicate she still doesn’t understand the gravity of her actions—namely, as Stodden revealed in an interview with The Daily Beast’s Marlow Stern, urging them to kill themselves on a number of occasions, including via DM—despite how many times it’s been discussed on the internet, nor what real accountability entails beyond drafting a public statement. She writes about being cancelled with the same fatalistic tone as many celebrities who receive public scrutiny and don’t truly learn from it. Decrying that there’s “no winning” once you’ve publicly screwed up and that anything she says will be “brutally picked apart” shows that she views being confronted with her past cruelty as something to overcome rather than something she has to learn from, amend and, ultimately, live with.
Other reactions centered around Teigen’s confession that she feels “alone” and “depressed” despite the fact that, from the outside looking in, Teigen has a more than busy and (by American standards) fulfilling life—two young children, husband John Legend, a business, several other jobs, a horde of celebrity friends, and a massive supply of money to spend on whatever hobbies and exotic excursions she’d like to embark on, including a recent trip to Italy she documented on her Instagram.
Whether or not folks can sympathize with Teigen’s anguish, she seemed to rebut a very popular assumption shared online that, if given a certain amount of money, an idyllic relationship and other privileges, no one would spend hours a day tweeting throwaway jokes and getting into inconsequential fights with strangers online. This is something I’ve said frequently as a freelance writer whose job entails being Very Online. But this assumption ignores the fact that social media is a very unique feedback loop where the way we communicate and the sort of attention and responses we receive can differ greatly from real life—said from someone who can’t make Succession references to anyone outside of the internet.
The outsized value Teigen seems to apply to these interactions and where she ranks them with other aspects of her life maybe requires some soul-searching. But as we’ve seen from her vague explanations of her past behavior, looking inward just doesn’t seem to be something she’s capable of on her own.