Chrissy Teigen and John Legend never chose baby names before they gave birth, the model and entrepreneur wrote in a raw post on Wednesday night. This time it had been different. This time they’d taken to calling the fetus Jack. And this time, they will never have a son to bring home from the hospital. Teigen had miscarried.
The model and entrepreneur’s doctor put her on bed rest earlier this fall, and she was later hospitalized with excessive bleeding. As her post notes, blood transfusions were not enough to save Jack. Writing to her late son, Teigen said, “I’m so sorry that the first few moments of your life were met with so many complications, that we couldn’t give you the home you needed to survive. We will always love you.”
Fans and celebrities have responded with empathy and even gratitude, thanking Teigen and Legend for being so open about a grieving process that still carries a lot of stigma. But others have responded… differently.
For some, finding sympathy for a family in mourning has evidently proven an impossible task. QAnon believers and “pro-life” figures have derided and mocked the couple’s grief and, in some cases, used their miscarriage as a way to vilify abortion. The comments themselves are the intellectual equivalent of maggots feasting on rancid Trump Steaks, and the vitriol Teigen has received perfectly crystallizes the toxic and utterly stupid turn our online discourse has taken.
Scroll past the supportive comments from various fans and supporters on Instagram and you’ll also find entries like, “That’s karma for eating kids.” Another: “Gods revenge….” Another: “Ritual ritual ritual sacrifice ! To get back her fans !!!” Another: “Who’s takes a picture of this? How much attention do you need? Really?”
And then there’s… whatever this is: “Probabaly karma from all those kids you sacrificed. Mothers babies that didn’t get a chance at life. Whose last moments were filled with terror and cries out for protection. You know the truth. Reap what you sew lady. You will answer to god … rest in peace to thosr childrens lives who were lost.. your twitter posts are all over the internet there is no more hiding the truth.”
For years now, QAnon supporters have harassed Teigen, claiming she’s somehow linked to Jeffrey Epstein; earlier this year an obviously fake flight log purportedly from Epstein’s private jet, the “Lolita Express,” included her name.
Teigen described the vitriol she’s received in early September. “I couldn’t leave cute comments on my friend’s pages knowing they’d be flooded with pizzagate insanity,” she wrote on Instagram. “My own fan pages wrote me, asking if I still wanted to be talked about even though the comments would be super hurtful.”
Now, Teigen’s miscarriage has united two of the online right’s most toxic factions: QAnon chuds and anti-abortion figures who call themselves “pro-life” but apparently view a family’s loss as a rhetorical opportunity.
For instance: Imagine reading Teigen’s post and then writing this, as documentarian and Republican congressional candidate Errol Webber did: “Hoping that Chrissy Tiegan and John Legend will reevaluate their thoughts on abortion after their heartbreaking experience. It’s not a clump of cells. It’s either a baby or it’s not.”
The obvious difference is that Teigen and Legend wanted to deliver, keep, and raise the baby their “clump of cells” would grow into. It is that person, that son, whom they are now grieving—a distinction anyone not trying to callously score political points could easily make.
Still, others have come forward with the same “helpful” point—like unsigned linebacker Bryan Kehl, and an Instagram commenter who simply wrote, “Think about it as an abortion… you always screaming about how you love abortions.”
In addition to those who see a miscarriage as an opportunity to re-litigate abortion—at a time when Roe v. Wade is under serious threat—others have also piled on to criticize her for posting about the miscarriage at all. Some have gone so far as to accuse Teigen of “clout chasing.”
Teigen’s status as a celebrity and one of the world’s best-known influencers makes her the perfect target for online trolls. She’s as well recognized as most stars, but her open social media persona has granted the public more access to her than most A-listers. She also happens to love mocking the president.
So far, it appears Teigen has received more support than she has ridicule. But either way the negative comments sent her way should not be ignored. It is unimaginably vile to invest oneself so deeply into a baseless conspiracy theory that laughing at someone’s miscarriage seems appropriate. It is vile to reduce a family’s loss to a political talking point. And it is vile to accuse a woman of “clout chasing” and demanding that she mourn “in private” simply for talking about her grief.
One could argue that saying as much will only, as the old saying goes, “feed the trolls.” But in targeting a grieving couple in this way, they’ve said more about themselves than anyone else ever could anyway.