John Legend's silence on Chrissy Teigen's scandal puts his brand at risk, expert says: 'Was he OK with it?'
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As his wife Chrissy Teigen‘s brand exploded into flames seemingly overnight after her past cyberbullying resurfaced, John Legend kept his cool, choosing to stay silent rather than offering his own analysis or condemnation.
It was a route brand expert Eric Schiffer tells Fox News he would have advised Legend not to consider if the “Voice” coach were his own client. According to the author and the chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, Legend’s “silence in the face of Teigen’s brutal attacks” aimed at celebrities like Courtney Stodden, as well as alleged bullying and mistreatment of fashion designer Michel Costello, “has reverberated across Madison Avenue.”
“During a period in which Chrissy was going through media scrutiny for mistreatment of people like Courtney Stodden, Legend said nothing. In the process, what that did is it caused him to further his brand to align in many ways with his wife’s,” Schiffer analyzed in an interview this week.
“John didn’t do the conduct. But he is stuck in this bitter choice between his love for his wife and either his disgust with her behavior or him privately being ok with it. Because he didn’t speak out right away it causes the public to wonder, was he OK with it?”
John Legend’s silence amid his wife’s cyberbullying scandal may result in financial repercussions, brand expert Eric Schiffer tells Fox News.
Like many, Schiffer said there’s an obvious conflict for Legend in terms of his devotion to his spouse and leveling his own values against that. Despite a potential conundrum for the singer, Schiffer said he would have informed Legend to “speak up about this real challenge.”
“If he does in fact disagree with Chrissy’s behavior, speak publicly about the fact that you were stuck between a choice of wanting to be loyal to your wife but also standing up for what you believe,” Schiffer said.
On Wednesday, a little over a month since Teigen’s downfall began, Legend spoke out for the first time, offering up a short description about how the “Cravings” cookbook author is doing amid the fallout.
“She’s doing great,” Legend told TMZ cameras Tuesday, one day after Teigen apologized in a lengthy post for her problematic tweets on social media, dubbing herself a “troll.”
What’s more, Legend named Teigen’s “Cravings” brand and gave Instagram viewers a sneak peek at his and Teigen’s home office while conducting an Instagram Live interview with Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday.
“We got this house right around when the pandemic started in the spring. We were planning to get a house to work in so that we would combine our operations, Cravings, my music and make it a home, but a home away from home. We did that. We remodeled, we got the studio ready and this is where we work,” Legend told the governor before discussing coronavirus restrictions being lifted in their home state.
Schiffer calls Legend’s promotion of Teigen’s work amid her ongoing scandal “boneheaded from a celebrity brand management perspective.”
“It shows that he doesn’t have empathy for the whole situation in its entirety,” said the expert. “Many have felt on some level that there’s an out-of-touch celebrity elitism that has been pervasive with both of them and that kind of comment makes people wonder.”
Although Schiffer is cognizant that Legend, an EGOT winner, “has been a celebrated musician with an image that largely aligned with social good.” Staying mostly silent on one of the biggest celebrity scandals of 2021 with his wife at the center of it, however, will likely come with a price, he said.
Chrissy Teigen, right, is reportedly looking to Oprah Winfrey for help in saving her reputation amid bullying claims.
“Brand managers really have to think now if they’re going to invest in a campaign with John Legend. Do they want that carnage that’s been leveled against others by Teigen associated to their products and services through the hiring of him? And because of that, many expect that he’s going to suffer a sizeable impact financially over the next year,” Schiffer said. “In part, he’s being seen as hypocritical. On many levels, he was this proponent of proper social behavior and now when the spotlight comes within his home front he’s shamelessly silent.”
Legend is also gearing up to go on tour this fall. But the expert said brand managers will continue to notice his obvious lack of separation from his wife’s past encouragement of suicide upon young stars on Twitter.
“John Legend is now dealing with a challenge because the Chrissy Teigen chaos will be a lingering odor for him and will likely result in fallout with brand opportunities that he would have had that are now burnt ashes,” Schiffer concluded.
On Monday, Teigen, 35, apologized for writing mean comments, and insisted she’s a changed person.
“It has been a VERY humbling few weeks. I know I’ve been quiet, and lord knows you don’t want to hear about me, but I want you to know I’ve been sitting in a hole of deserved global punishment, the ultimate ‘sit here and think about what you’ve done.’ Not a day, not a single moment has passed where I haven’t felt the crushing weight of regret for the things I’ve said in the past,” Teigen wrote via Medium. “As you know, a bunch of my old awful (awful, awful) tweets resurfaced. I’m truly ashamed of them. As I look at them and understand the hurt they caused, I have to stop and wonder: How could I have done that?”
“There is simply no excuse for my past horrible tweets. My targets didn’t deserve them. No one does. Many of them needed empathy, kindness, understanding and support, not my meanness masquerading as a kind of casual, edgy humor,” she added.
John Legend told TMZ cameras on Tuesday that his wife is ‘doing great’ amid the cyberbullying scandal.
At the time, Legend initially reacted to Teigen’s post with heart emojis.
“Words have consequences and there are real people behind the Twitter handles I went after. I wasn’t just attacking some random avatar, but hurting young women — some who were still girls — who had feelings. … I won’t ask for your forgiveness, only your patience and tolerance. I ask that you allow me, as I promise to allow you, to own past mistakes and be given the opportunity to seek self improvement and change,” the “Cravings” author concluded.
Among Teigen’s past actions that she’s apologizing for are allegedly encouraging Stodden to commit suicide and suggesting that Lindsay Lohan physically harm herself out of jealousy.
The ordeal resulted in a great deal of backlash for the once-beloved star, which many consider ironic given her tendency to slam others for problematic behaviors. Farrah Abraham also accused her of bullying her in 2013.
Teigen wrote how she realized, “I was insecure, immature and in a world where I thought I needed to impress strangers to be accepted. If there was a pop culture pile-on, I took to Twitter to try to gain attention and show off what I at the time believed was a crude, clever, harmless quip. I thought it made me cool and relatable if I poked fun at celebrities.”
“Life has made me more empathetic. I’m more understanding of what motivates trolling — the instant gratification that you get from lashing out and clapping back, throwing rocks at someone you think is invincible because they’re famous. Also, I know now how it feels to be on the receiving end of incredible vitriol. Believe me, the irony of this is not lost on me.”
Fox News’ Jessica Napoli, Julius Young and Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.
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