Celebrities have been known to complain about over-aggressive paparazzi, while their detractors tell them to zip it—that it’s part of the celebrity industrial complex they signed up for. But no celebrity deserves the kind of harassment Chrissy Teigen and her husband, John Legend, endured from a racist paparazzo when they touched down at New York City’s JFK airport on Thursday.
In a classic Teigen tweetstorm, the super model revealed that the photographer in question asked her “if we evolved from monkeys, why is John Legend still around?” Teigen, of course, wasn’t having it.
“I was very kind. Answered cooking questions, then he came with that. Fucking disgusting,” she wrote. “Also, john is right next to me. The balls.”
But that wasn’t all. After insulting Legend, the paps then asked Teigen a disparaging question about Jews for no apparent reason at all. “He also went from ‘what's an easy recipe to make at home’ to ‘if a Jew were a vampire, would he still be afraid of crosses?’” she wrote.
So far the offending shutterbug has yet to be identified, but Teigen is hoping to rectify that if and when the video emerges online. “Guess we'll find him when he puts the video out,” she said. “That he edits the shit out of since he didn't get clocked.”
(UPDATED Jan. 21, 2:30 p.m. PT) John Legend opened up about the encounter while promoting the WGN series Underground.
“We looked at each other like, ‘Did he really just say that?’” Legend said. “He basically called me a monkey. Black folks have had to deal with being called monkeys for a long time and dehumanization has always been kind of a method of racism and subjugation of black people and that’s just part of American history—and it’s part of the present, apparently.”
To Legend’s point, one present example is former First Lady Michelle Obama being referred to as an “ape in heels” by former Clay County, Virgina Development Corp. director Pamela Taylor. In December of 2016, Taylor was fired from her post after making the racist remark about Obama via Facebook.
“We’ve seen that frequently,” Legend added. “I’m not hurt by someone saying that to me because I’m smarter, I’m stronger. I look down on that person that would say something like that. But it’s a shame that it still exists.”