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Twitter’s ‘unofficial mayor’ Chrissy Teigen quits platform after years of harassment

The former model and media personality was a prolific tweeter

Chrissy Teigen Photo: NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Chrissy Teigen, a prolific tweeter the company once called the mayor of Twitter, quit the social media platform Wednesday night. In a series of now-deleted tweets, Teigen said Twitter “no longer serves me as positively as it serves me negatively, and I think that’s the right time to call something.”

The model and media personality who is married to singer John Legend was a witty presence on Twitter, and she had 13.7 million followers on the platform, which she joined more than a decade ago. Teigen tweeted about everything from her kids to her cooking projects to personal challenges in her life, including a miscarriage she suffered last October. She was famously blocked on Twitter by former President Trump (who was himself banned from the platform in January) and was one of a handful of accounts followed by the official POTUS account when President Biden took office.

Twitter even promoted her as its unofficial mayor, doing a “behind the tweets” video segment in 2019 where she gave some backstory about several of her higher-profile tweets.

But Teigen was also the target of vitriolic abuse and ongoing harassment both on and off of Twitter. Pizzagate conspiracy theorists baselessly claimed Teigen and Legend were part of the nonexistent pedophile ring supposedly run out of a Washington, DC pizzeria. She said she deleted thousands of tweets and blocked more than a million Twitter accounts last July after ongoing harassment by QAnon followers. “For years I have taken so many small, 2-follower count punches that at this point, I am honestly deeply bruised,” she tweeted Wednesday.

This is a very bad look for Twitter, which despite all of its efforts to reduce harassment on its platform, was unable to protect a woman of color — and arguably one of its best-known personalities — from being targeted and harassed. The company declined to comment to The Verge on Thursday.

Teigen herself said on Instagram Thursday that she doesn’t blame Twitter. “I believe they do all they can to combat relentless bullying,” she wrote. “It’s not the platform. It’s not the ‘bullying’. And it’s not the trolls. The trolls I can deal with, although it weighs on you. It’s just me. I have to come to terms with the fact some people aren’t gonna like me.”

Here’s the full statement from Teigen, which she tweeted out before deleting her account:

Hey. For over 10 years, you guys have been my world. I honestly owe so much to this world we have created here. I truly consider so many of you my actual friends.

But it’s time for me to say goodbye. This no longer serves me as positively as it serves me negatively, and I think that’s the right time to call something.

My life goal is to make people happy. The pain I feel when I don’t is too much for me. I’ve always been portrayed as the strong clap back girl but I’m just not. My desire to be liked and fear of pissing people off has made me somebody you didn’t sign up for, and a different human than I started out here as! Live well, tweeters.

I encourage you to know and never forget that your words matter. No matter what you see, what that person portrays, or your intention. For years I have taken so many small, 2-follower count punches that at this point, I am honestly deeply bruised.

I have made my mistakes, throughout years and in front of hundreds of thousands, and been held accountable for them. I’ve learned an incredible amount here.

God I have said fucked up shit and killed myself over it as much as you killed me. But one thing I haven’t learned is how to block out the negativity.

I’m just a sensitive shit, okay!? I don’t wanna be this way! I just am! But I love you guys and I cherish our time together. I truly do. I also hate you.

Disclosure: John Legend is on the board of directors for Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.

Update March 25th 3:47PM ET: Adds remarks from Teigen’s Instagram account