S1: I have questions I don’t understand the choreographed dance of quitting social media and the biggest question of all, why are they back? Did people online suddenly become nicer?
S2: Hi, I’m Rachel Hampton.
S3: And I’m Madison Malone Kirchherr. You’re listening to AC. Why am I
S2: in case you missed it,
S3: Slate’s podcast about Internet culture. Rachel, long week. What’s new, huh?
S2: Oh, Madison. Unfortunately, I have in my post vaccination life decided to get back on the dating apps. Oh, I know. Except the sound I made. No, it’s.
S3: Oh it’s not. Tell me the tone I should strike here.
S2: I would say oh mostly because so I fully deleted everything once, like New York City shut down because I was like, if I’m not seeing my friends, I’m definitely not seeing strangers. Good logic. So it’s been about a year since I’ve been on a dating app. And let me tell you, it is a wild, wild west out there, not least because everyone’s profession is now a day trader.
S3: Like people with Robin Hood. Like crypto. Yes. Yes.
S2: Like in their little bios telling you what their occupation is. They’re like, I trade cryptocurrency or I’m an investor. And at first I was like, oh, maybe they’re just not a finance pros in the area. But I mean, my radius quite small. So I’m only in Brooklyn. And I was like, wait, no. All the finance pros in Manhattan, these are people who are just in their free time trading stocks and think that counts as the occupation.
S3: Would you be willing to maybe engage with or go on it?
S2: Don’t. No, come on.
S3: The content
S2: management man. Listen, this podcast can infiltrate literally every other part of my life. I will not be going on dates or engaging with men that I am not actually want to see in the future. I’m so sorry. Wow.
S3: Well, because you so rudely refuse to engage with a crypto trader in the name of content, that’s not what we’re going to talk about today. So instead, you, Rachel, are forcing us to discuss Twitter celebrity and just regular offline celebrity Chrissy Teigen, one of social media’s biggest stars who’s been embroiled in honestly, like more Internet spats than there are euphemistic ways to say Internet spats.
S2: I resent the implication that this is fully my fault, especially since of late, her Twitter presence has kind of revolved around her announcing that she was done with Twitter only to reverse course and return weeks later, which is the story in and of itself. But this week’s drama actually started a decade ago with some long deleted hateful tweets and alleged DM’s about Courtney Stane, a person best known for being a teenage tabloid bride in the Middle East’s.
S3: Stodden actually opened up about this experience in a recent interview with The Daily Beast, claiming Tegan deemed them back in the day, saying that she couldn’t wait for Stodden, who was literally a teenager, to die. It raises questions not just about teens past Twitter behavior, which we’re going to get into, but also the very nature of Internet celebrity and who gets to attain it. And honestly, just how Chrissy Teigen has gotten through so many controversies and still come away unscathed.
S2: It is a long, winding, annoying saga. We’re going to be getting into everything from Kuhnen to the Academy Awards to Anderson Cooper. There are a lot of characters in this story. I do want to give a trigger warning. We’re going to be talking about suicide in this episode. So feel free to shut off right now.
S3: To start, I need everybody to go back in time with me to 2011. I’m not trying to rack my brain. Like what? What was, like the most popular song of 2011?
S2: I don’t know, like LMFAO or some shit. Yeah, I
S3: like party rock anthem. Yeah, just Lady Gaga. I’m on
S2: my edge. Oh, wow.
S3: Wow. OK, welcome to 2011. In 2011, Courtney Stodden, who was 16 years old at the time and a, I don’t know, pretty average teenager due to her, want to be famous person who among us made headlines because they got married as a teen. To Doug Hutchison, who is a fifty year old acting coach, probably best known for his role as like the creepy, awful prison guard in the Green Mile.
S4: I knew I’d get him sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time, really.
S3: So Courtney Stodden, who has since come out as non binary, told ABC that they met Doug Hutchison online and that they were able to get married because Courtney’s mother knew about the whole thing. Courtney’s mother signed. On their marriage, which was how it was legal for the two of them to get married, even though Courtney Stodden was only 16 years old,
S2: and because the Internet is just a great and wonderful and supportive place, people immediately were like, what the fuck is wrong with this man? This wedding should immediately be dissolved. No, that’s not what happened. They immediately made Courtney Stone a target for bullying and slut shaming and scrutiny from, you know, your average American gossip rag readers to also incredibly famous American gossip rag readers, including none other than one Anderson Cooper, who on his CNN segment RidicuList, took minutes, hours out of his day not to lambast Hutchinson for being a fucking creep, but to make fun of Courtney’s Sutton, who again was 16 at the time.
S4: He’s 51 years old. And a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, he married a 16 year old girl, Vegas romantic, who is this young lady who found true love with a character actor in his early 50s. Luckily, like a lot of 16 year old, she has a YouTube channel where she posts videos, probably talks about her homework and getting her driver’s license from Justin Bieber and stuff. Let’s take a look. Everything about me and my hair is real. My teeth around my eyelashes are real. You know what else is real? Their love is real.
S3: It’s so, so, so, so gross. And also, like, it wasn’t just Anderson Cooper. That’s the most horrifying thing. Right? Like, this was just the way people talked about Courtney Statens relationship in 2011.
S2: They were a teenager. They were a child. Right.
S3: Like hyper sexualized. Yeah. Coricidin, if you haven’t seen a picture of them at 16, is their very buxom bleached blonde hair, like conventional body type blonde bombshell esque is probably the most accurate way to describe them. Stodden and Justin gave an interview with ABC about their marriage in which they talk about how basically it was Courtney’s job to make it look like Doug was not a predator. And again, we are talking about a child who is, you know, subject to all of this vitriol from the press and from strangers and, you know, getting getting hate mail. There’s there’s a moment in this clip where Courtney is reading the sorts of things that they would get online and just people telling them to kill themselves. And the newlyweds could spend hours every day reading their own hate mail.
S4: This girl is too young. And to me, this is abuse. You are a whore.
S2: Among this group of people who were harassing, again, we’re going to say this so many times, a literal child for being abused and groomed, Chrissy sent so many terrible tweets to Courtney and allegedly also D.M. them. But of the tweets that are public, they include things like my Friday fantasy, you dirt nap my baby or go to sleep forever, or what drug makes you do that with your mouth. Asking for a friend who really wants to know how to look like an idiot, thinks
S3: these tweets have since been deleted, but it’s not hard to find screenshots of them online and they’re awful. I just like I know the way that we use Twitter has certainly evolved and that like a decade ago, I think people were less acutely aware of the fact that Twitter is not private, but even still, my God, have you ever sat down and felt the need to tweet or message a teenager that they should die?
S2: No. And if you have seek help.
S3: So Tiguan in the 2011 era was just becoming sort of the mega famous model slash mogul, mom fluence or mompreneur television. There’s a lot of slashes. This was all just beginning. She had been Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie of the year in 2010. She had briefly been like one of the case holding models on deal or no deal. She got married to John Legend in 2013. It’s just all this is to say that she hadn’t quite become this like mega famous Twitter person yet. But this was certainly someone who was more famous than maybe not more famous, less infamous and more famous than Courtney Stodden.
S2: Oh, 100 percent. And again, a full grown adult.
S3: Tina now is, of course, a Twitter. Let’s call her a power player, you know, thirteen point six million followers during the Barack Obama days, the apparatus account followed her. She’s a big deal on Twitter.
S2: So as Tiguan star continues to rise, she seems to learn literally nothing in terms of how to interact with people on the Internet specifically and perhaps most worryingly, children. She came after not only Courtney son, but conventioneer Wallace, who played Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild and also Annie in the Annie remake. And so in 2013 conventioneer, who was then nine years old, spent so much time that year getting people to properly pronounce her name. She spent time on the red carpet talking about how to pronounce her name. And apparently that was just too much for Christie to handle because Christie tweets during the Oscars red carpet. Is it OK to call a small child Cocchi before then? Adding, I am forced to like conventioneer Wallis because she’s a child. Right. OK, fine.
S3: That tweet also has been deleted. Yes.
S2: The things that Christie’s detractors think about her or know about her that have been known since 2011, 2013 seem to have largely left her unscathed.
S3: Right. I feel like any time Chrissy Teigen tweets anything like if you go to her mentions, you’ll find people being like this, you with screenshots of the sorts of tweets we’re talking about.
S2: Yeah. Because we had this whole pivot, I think actually probably around the time she had her first child, where her kind of public persona softened in a way,
S3: she has deleted some 60000 tweets by her own admission. So there’s a lot of stuff has been scrubbed from the Tiguan Internet record, which I got to say I do respect that. I think tweet deleting is a pretty good idea for most of us.
S2: Delete your tweets.
S3: The thing about Chrissy Teigen is she’s also been embroiled in some Internet experiences where she was genuinely a target. So in twenty eighteen, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend and their daughter were some of the earliest victims online of the Q And on conspiracy theory, Chrissy Teigen posted a picture of her daughter dressed in a hot dog costume. And there was a pizza emoji involved and that somehow like became this like tinfoil hat follow the white rabbit. Definitive proof that Chrissy Teigen was implicated in some completely fictitious, let’s be very clear, child sex abuse ring. Very normal stuff.
S2: Supernormal stuff. Kuhnen, yes. Before Kuhnen became the kind of global power that we now know it is. And Marjorie Taylor Green is now a member of Congress. They focused a lot on celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, who were kind of avowedly left leaning
S3: as she’s being attacked. You know, more and more unsurprisingly, guess who appears tweeting about Chrissy Teigen?
S2: Oh, I can only hazard a guess that it is none other than our former tweeter in chief, Donald Trump.
S3: That is true. In twenty nineteen, who referred to Chrissy Teigen as John Legend’s, quote, filthy mouth wife,
S2: oh, my God. Wait, I actually fuck. Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, that is the thing. Like Chrissy Teigen has been the target of so many people that objectively are terrible.
S3: This, of course, only worked to Chrissy Chicken’s favorite because she. Rachel, clench your jaw and brace your shoulders. She clapped back. Oh, no, she tweeted lol. What a pussy ass bitch tagged everyone but me an honor. Mr. President,
S2: it’s a great tweet. Not going to lie. I’m not going to lie. I mean, this is the thing. Chrissy Teigen kind of becomes a symbol for the resistance and also is this kind of mob influencer and also is, quote unquote relatable like this is this all becomes kind of part of her general brand.
S3: And all the while, the Kuhnen conspiracy theory only grows stronger and stronger nationally. And on Twitter, which I think might be a good time to take a breath. Take a beat.
S2: Yeah. Always need a bit of a break after talking about Kuhnen. But when we come back, we’re going to get into Tegan’s more recent controversies and whether it should be able to kind of emerge unscathed this time around.
S3: We’re also going to hear from an Wyoming listener who sent us a really great note about the cycle of celebrities quitting social media inspired by one Chrissy Teigen.
S2: And we’re back, we got a note from a listener. Thank you, Tim from Texas, and he asked us about none other than Chrissy Teigen, specifically her recent little quit and return to Twitter.
S1: Good morning. I’m an old from Texas and not on social media. I truly enjoy your podcast and feel like I’ve learned quite a bit from the ladies. And I appreciate the opportunity to learn. I don’t understand the choreographed dance of quitting social media because I can tell from the celebrity news that does filter into my brain, it seems to involve four steps. Number one, the ring. It step to the ceremonial leave-taking of Twitter, Facebook, step number three, interregnum, a variable duration and step member for I’m back on social media, baby, I have questions. Is this group necessary? Can’t one just delete accounts and erase media? If a tree falls in the forest, does it still count? It’s twenty, twenty one. And even I know that social media can be toxic. When is that no longer news to anyone? Why does that count as a novel observation? And the biggest question of all, why are they back? Did people online suddenly become nicer, mystified? Tim.
S2: I love Tim. I love his accent. I love this question. I love his mystification, which, to be quite honest, I kind of share.
S3: So Tim perfectly sets out these steps, which Chris Stevens Twitter departure and return follows like incredibly, incredibly to the letter. Before Chrissy Teigen left, there was one final pandemic, Twitter dust up that put her name in headlines. Again, this one involving the creator of the soup, the cookies. God, Miss Schallert Pasta herself, Roman.
S2: Indeed, this was maybe, I think, pandemic season one drama on Twitter. Honestly, when it happened, I kind of left him. I’m going to be completely honest, like so much of, like, crazy Deegan’s Internet dustups. I’m just like, oh, God, these are either, like, really upsetting or it just bad. This one I was like, oh, the girls are fighting.
S3: So Allison Roman, it’s a recipe creator and writer and Cook who started her career at Bon Appetit and has now become a household cookbook writer name. I think it’s fair to say, you know, New York Times best seller had a column in the Times
S2: until this interview in May. Twenty twenty with the new consumer where in which she decided to take aim at both Christine and Marie Kondo. And she said Tegan’s target line and her Instagram account horrifies her because she’s selling out. Basically, keep in mind, Alison, no one has a line of artisanal spoons. I’m not joking that like the joke. I swear to God I’m not joking.
S3: We love artisanal spoons.
S2: Honestly, why am I? And what’s wild about literally every single Twitter spat that Chrissy Teigen has ever been in is that Chrissy comes out on top in the scenario. Alison Roman apologizes. But by the time she does, The New York Times has indefinitely suspended her column. It’s still not back. It’s been a year at this point. Oh, God, it’s been a year at this point. And the column is suspended against Tegan’s public wishes. Tiguan fully says, like, I didn’t want that to happen, but it really kind of demonstrates the sheer power of Chrissy Tegan’s tears like.
S3: So in March of this year, Chrissy Teigen announces out of the blue that she’s leaving Twitter for good. She has had enough quote for two years. I have taken so many small to follower count punches that at this point I am honestly deeply bruised. She says that she’s made mistakes in front of hundreds of thousands of people and has been held accountable for them. But she hasn’t been able to block out the negativity and that she is leaving Twitter. You can hold it in both hands, right in one hand. It’s like I am sure Chrissy Teigen has experienced just violent, graphic threats of all nature. On the other hand, the accountability she’s talking about are four things she said and meant and kept saying. But it doesn’t really seem like she’s truly been held accountable for those things. Right?
S2: Yeah. There’s this kind of interesting turn that a lot of Tegan’s fans and ambivalent observers kind of pull where if you call Tiguan out for the things that she’s done, there’s this kind of bad faith turn where it’s like you’re aligning yourself. For people like Candice Owens and Kuhnen bots by attacking Chrissy Teigen and the answer to that line of argument is both, and we can hold two things in our hands. There is nuance. We can walk and chew gum. Just because Chrissy Teigen has been attacked by Donald Trump and Candice Owens does not excuse the fact that she has done things for which she should be criticized
S3: when she talks about accountability. Accountability might have looked like, you know, celebrities and brands and networks choosing not to work with a woman who had publicly told a 16 year old to take their own life or bullied a nine year old black actress. Like, what is the accountability?
S2: Accountability is somebody tweeting her old tweets back at her, unsurprisingly.
S3: Fast forward a few weeks later, Chrissy Teigen rejoins Twitter. She came back and said that it turns out it feels terrible to silence yourself and that she’s going to take the good with the bad.
S2: Just say you want to shit posts like the rest of us. That’s fine. But you are not brave for coming back to Twitter. In fact, it is a little broken brained to be like, oh yes, I will deal with the bad faith kuhnen harassment because I wish to shit post on the internet like meme make better decisions.
S3: I know it’s a cheap joke, but honestly that is the most stars. They’re just like us. Moment I could describe. So why you might be asking, are we talking about Chrissy Teigen and Courtney Staton again in the year. Twenty twenty one because Chrissy Teigen has not tweeted about Courtney Stodden in. I haven’t checked but
S2: you wouldn’t be able to check because you probably deleted all those tweets, but it’s been at least a decade. I would feel comfortable.
S3: It’s been a decade since this was a relevant thing. But this week in a Daily Beast interview, Stodden brought Tegan’s alleged bullying back into the news. So Courtney Stein is now 26 years old, which just boggles.
S2: Yeah, realizing how young Courtney Stein is right now, only kind of reifies how young they were and so stunned in this Daily Beast piece says that in addition to the heinous public tweets that Higgin sent them, Tiguan also sent direct messages saying things like, I can’t wait for you to die. I know we’ve said this. I think at least seven times STON was 16 years old, was being clearly groomed. And so at the same time that they are being manipulated, they are also receiving death threats from people like Tiguan, who finally, 10 years later decides to apologize on Twitter, of course. And Tinnen says that she’s tried unsuccessfully to reach out to son personally and wants to put an apology out in public since the comments that she made were public. Tegan writes, I am ashamed and completely embarrassed and 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 not my only mistakes and surely will be my last as hard as I try, but God, I will try.
S3: How hard do you try to be beloved, Rachel? You know, it’s
S2: not about letting her fans down. It’s about the fact that you harassed and attacked a sixteen year old. For what reason? Courtney Stodden accepted the apology, the public one, but says that’s not true. Tegan still has Courtney blocked on Twitter, and Thatn says that Tegan has not made any attempts to reach out personally. Stodden writes, All of me wants to believe this is a sincere apology, but it feels like a public attempt to save her partnerships with Target and other brands who are realizing her, quote, weakness is a broken record.
S3: Now, that’s a statement.
S2: That’s a statement. I do wonder if this apology will be enough to save her partnerships with brands like Target.
S3: I mean, you want the grim answer? Yeah, absolutely. It will be because the way the world treated Kurdistan ten years ago was horrible. Have we moved that far past that in ten years?
S2: I like to believe that in a situation like Courtney STON would not happen, not that it wouldn’t happen again, but that people would not react the same. Do I think that’s enough for brands to actually like live up to the, you know, black squares that they post on Instagram whenever some shit goes down? No, I don’t. So, you know, Chrissy Teigen will probably be talking about you in six months. But for today, we are done. That’s the show. We’ll be back on your feet on Wednesday, so please subscribe. It’s free and if you’re willing to. Could you please leave a rating and review an Apple podcast? And, you know, if you’re in a group chat or discord or a Facebook group where people ask for podcast recommendations, you know, consider giving us a little a little shout out. In the meantime, though, if you just want to know why Chugai is being sold as a NFTE
S3: or you want to talk about why everyone on Tic-Tac is getting ripped tonight or actually this one’s niche. But I would really like to talk to anybody who is being served, these tech talks of a woman just doing like standing crunches, if you know. You know.
S2: Yeah, I’ve seen that. Mm hmm. Yeah. If you’ve seen that and you have questions about it, drop us a note. I see why my slate dotcom likes him from Texas or find us on Twitter at the hashtag. I see why my iPod.
S3: I see Why Am I is produced by Daniel Shrader, our supervising producer is Derek John Forrest. Wickman is Slate’s culture editor and Gabe Roth is editorial director of Audio Seyou. Online or
S3: Fast forward, due to remember, I don’t really know what the fast forwarding noise sounds like, can we double that in? Because that certainly wasn’t it.
S2: No, we’re keeping that.