Chrissy Teigen decided to temporarily make all of her social media accounts private after her daughter was dragged into a bizarre conspiracy theory popularised by right-wing trolls.
It’s no secret that Chrissy Teigen has earned our love and respect a million times over with her “no filter” approach to social media.
Unlike so many other A-listers, she doesn’t have a PR sat by her side to carefully monitor each and every single one of her posts. Instead, she keeps it honest and full of her dry sense of humour.
It’s unsurprising, then, that fans of the model, author and foodie were disheartened when Teigen removed herself from the social media spotlight earlier this week.
While Teigen has not provided a reason for her Twitter and Instagram absence, many news outlets have pointed out that she privatised her accounts shortly after Liz Crokin (who identifies herself as an author and journalist) started a Twitter thread which falsely claimed that some of Teigen’s family photos contained hidden messages hinting at a connection to an alleged child-sex-trafficking ring.
The images in question showed Luna dressed as an Alice in Wonderland character, as a hotdog and as a pineapple. In one photo uploaded to Snapchat, Teigen used a pizza emoji.
This was apparently enough to convince Crokin that the false Hillary Clinton-linked paedophilia conspiracy theory – dubbed “Pizzagate” – is not only true, but that Teigen and Legend have knowingly placed their own daughter at the centre of it.
“Chrissy Teigen’s daughter dressed as a hot dog, Alice in Wonderland & a pineapple but note the [pizza] emoji! #followthewhiterabbit #Qanon #TheStorm,” Crokin tweeted, along with images of Luna.
Crokin’s account had 50,000 followers and was verified at the time of the tweets – which quickly caused the baseless accusations to go viral.
Teigen, admitting that the tweets had left her feeling fearful, soon responded: “Alright. I debated saying something about this but I’m pretty disturbed over here. The fact that there are people with these… thoughts… is really scary.”
She later complained in a follow-up tweet about Twitter’s verification of Crokin, writing: “Thank you, Twitter, for verifying somebody who is esentially accusing me (with pictures of my daughter) of child abuse and pedophilia to their 50,000 followers.”
John Legend also joined in on his Twitter, asking Crokin “to take my family’s name out of your mouth before you get sued.”
Crokin, however, refused to stop sharing her discredited theories – and later claimed in a tweet: “Chrissy you run in circle with people who rape, torture and traffic kids. This is a fact, I expose sex trafficking for a living.”
Teigen responded simply: “Anyone know any good lawyers?”
Crokin later revealed that Twitter had listened to Teigen’s complaints, and that her account verification had been removed.
“Twitter just unverified my account thanks to Chrissy Teigen,” she said. “That’s OK [because] I care more about saving kids than I do about a blue checkmark!”
Teigen, still shaken by the experience, later tweeted: “It is INCREDIBLY weird to be two (semi) normal, ridiculously boring human beings who literally make food, watch TV and clean up dog barf in any kind of off time and then be suddenly accused.”
She followed it up moments later saying she was done with it and would let the person “incriminate themselves.”
Despite Teigen’s decision to remove herself from the conversation, though, it continued to circulate on social media.
And, on New Year’s Eve, the star was forced to ask her followers to stop sending screenshots or tweets regarding the issue to her. She then announced she had “muted, blocked, and gone private to let these people further dig their holes while leaving me in peace.”
Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, has since reached out to Teigen to offer words of support.
“Chrissy, sending you & beautiful Luna a huge hug,” she wrote, revealing that she too has been the target of many human trafficking claims since the Pizzagate conspiracy took off.
“It is awful & never ok when people threaten or demean any child. I’ve lost count of the Twitter accounts who’ve threatened Charlotte with #FGM. While I never bother to report threats against me, I now report every one against her.”
Teigen, filled with gratitude, responded: “I feel silly even worrying about this in comparison to the magnitude of slander and threats you and your family have dealt with for decades.
“These people are truly sick and scary. Love to you, Charlotte and Marc!”
The discredited Pizzagate conspiracy theory is based on a 100% fake news story from 2016, which claimed that high-ranking Democrat officials and members of the Hollywood elite were involved in human trafficking – including a child sex abuse ring – via a Washington DC pizza establishment called Comet Ping Pong.
Since then, Comet and surrounding restaurants have been the subject of death threats and harassment – and in December 2016, a man walked into Comet and began firing an assault rifle.
The alleged shooter later told police that he had come to the restaurant to “self-investigate” the Pizzagate theory.
Nobody was harmed during the incident, but it highlighted how dangerous ‘fake news’ can be.
“What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences,” Comet Ping Pong’s owner James Alefantis told CNN.
“I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today and stop promoting these falsehoods right away.”
Images: Rex Features