Everything You Need to Know About the Chrissy Teigen and Alison Roman Drama
If you've spent any amount of time on Twitter over the past few days, you've probably seen something about some drama going down between Chrissy Teigen and chef and food writer Alison Roman—even if you weren't completely sure what was happening.
Comments were made in an interview, responses followed on social media, and eventually, Teigen decided to make her Twitter private for a while. Roman, for those who don't know, is a breakout star on the food scene. She writes for Bon Appétit and the New York Times, has a couple of best-selling cookbooks, and is a favorite of internet home chefs with her recipes for viral sensations like "The Stew." Teigen is, of course, Chrissy Teigen: social media star, cookbook and cookware best-seller, also a favorite of internet home chefs, and the wife of John Legend.
Let's break down what exactly happened between these two—and why Marie Kondo is also involved.
How it started: Roman gave an interview to New Consumer in early May in which she somewhat disparagingly referenced both Kondo and Teigen. Here's the specific section that started the online conversation (after she was asked about the difference between "consumption and pollution" when it comes to how she's thinking about expanding her brand, and whether or not she's going to do a full product line at a restaurant).
"Like the idea that when Marie Kondo decided to capitalize on her fame and make stuff that you can buy, that is completely antithetical to everything she’s ever taught you…. I’m like, ‘Damn, bitch, you fucking just sold out immediately!’ Someone’s like, 'You should make stuff,' and she’s like, 'Okay, slap my name on it, I don’t give a shit!'
“That’s the thing—you don’t need a ton of equipment in your kitchen to make great food. 'For the low, low price of $19.99, please to buy my cutting board!' Like, no. Find the stuff that you love and buy it. Support businesses and makers. It feels greedy. Unless something just simply didn’t exist that I wish existed, but that would make an inventor, which I’m not.
"There’s just too much stuff in the world. I want so much less stuff in my life, and I don’t want to contribute to that. And maybe that’s a poor business decision, because I’m sure one day I could make money off it. But I’m more interested in finding a cool glassblower or ceramicist that I love and doing a collaboration.
“Like, what Chrissy Teigen has done is so crazy to me. She had a successful cookbook. And then it was like: Boom, line at Target. Boom, now she has an Instagram page that has over a million followers where it’s just, like, people running a content farm for her. That horrifies me, and it’s not something that I ever want to do. I don’t aspire to that. But like, who’s laughing now? Because she’s making a ton of fucking money.
“I’m more interested in expanding myself as a writer. My next book is going to be narrative nonfiction—essays and short stories and stuff. To me, the only way that I can continue to differentiate myself from the pod of people that write recipes, or cookbooks or whatever, is by doing a different thing. And so I have to figure out what that is. And I think that I haven’t ultimately nailed that. And I’m in the process of figuring it out right now."
The backlash: Many online were quick to point out that the two people Roman chose to criticize were both women of color. Critics also pointed to Roman's language in talking about Kondo: "Please to buy my cutting board." The language was clarified by the writer Dan Frommer in an editor's note after the piece was published.
"After publication, Alison asked me to remove one word from this interview—“to”—that she thought might be misinterpreted…. I agreed to remove the word, as I did not want it to be misinterpreted, considering readers lacked the spoken context of what she said or how she said it. Further, the piece is not a verbatim transcript of our conversation—it has been edited for clarity and length, which I noted in the introduction," he wrote. "I did not know at the time that the specific quote was becoming a topic of conversation. After my edit, Alison explained the reference on Twitter—she says it’s a reference to an Eastern European cookbook called Please to the Table, and an inside joke with friends. I want to set the record unequivocally straight: Alison was not mocking an Asian accent when she said that to me, and any claim that she was is incorrect."
Roman's (initial) response: At first, Roman tweeted, "When women bully other women for being honest about money and how much they do or do not make, well, that's amore," and, "Just wishing I had someone to hold my hand during baby’s first internet backlash ?" But really, this was just the beginning of all that would go down.
She then attempted to explain her first remarks. "I want to clarify, I am not coming for anyone who's successful, especially not women," she tweeted. "I was trying to clarify that my business model does not include a product line, which work very well for some, but I don't see working for me."
Teigen's response: In a series of tweets, Teigen expressed how hurtful the comments were to her—especially because she was such a fan of Roman's. She even stated that she was supposed to be an executive producer on the new show Roman mentions in her interview. "I don't think I've ever been so bummed out by the words of a fellow food-lover," she wrote. "I just had no idea I was perceived that way, by her especially. And Marie, too. Marie is awesome."
Roman's response to Teigen: The Nothing Fancy author responded directly to Teigen on Twitter on May 8—and noted she had also sent her a personal email of apology. "Hi @chrissyteigen! I sent an email but also wanted to say here that I’m genuinely sorry I caused you pain with what I said," she wrote. "I shouldn’t have used you/your business (or Marie’s!) as an example to show what I wanted for my own career—it was flippant, careless and I’m so sorry."
The drama continues: Though Roman and Teigen weren't going at each other (at all) on Twitter, there was still a lot of nasty commenting going on by others—which caused Teigen to take a break from the platform. "I really hate what this drama has caused this week. Calling my kids Petri dish babies or making up flight manifests with my name on them to 'Epstein island,' to justify someone else’s disdain with me seems gross to me so I’m gonna take a little break," she wrote. "This is what always happens. The first day, a ton of support, then the next, 1 million reasons as to why you deserved this. It never fails."
Roman's full apology: On May 11, Roman posted a thoughtful and lengthy apology across her social media platforms. "I’ve thought a lot this weekend about my interview and the things I said," she wrote. "I know this is a lengthy note (succinctness has never been my strong suit). I appreciate you taking the time to read."
"I need to formally apologize to Chrissy Teigen and Marie Kondo. I used their names disparagingly to try and distinguish myself, which I absolutely do not have an excuse for," she said. "It was stupid, careless, and insensitive. I need to learn, and respect, the difference between being unfiltered and honest vs. being uneducated and flippant."
"Among the many uncomfortable things I’ve begun processing is the knowledge that my comments were rooted in my own security," she continued. "My inability to appreciate my own success without comparing myself to and knocking down others—in this case two accomplished women—is something I recognize I most definitely struggle with, and am working to fix. I don’t want to be a person like that."
Read the full letter below:
Teigen accepts the apology: Everything came full circle as Teigen responded to Roman's lengthy apology letter. "thank u for this,
@alisoneroman. To be clear, it never once crossed my mind for u to apologize for what you genuinely thought!" she tweeted. "The comments stung, but they moreso stung because they came from u! It wasn’t my usual news break of some random person hating everything about me!"
"I still think you are incredibly talented," she added. "And in an industry that doesn’t really lend itself to supporting more than a handful of people at a time, I feel like all we have are each other!"
Phew, yes, that was a lot—but hopefully, all beef (no cooking puns intended) is now squashed for good.
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