Singer Leona Lewis and Black Fashion Designer Maxie James Call Out Designer Michael Costello, Accuse Him of Bullying and Using the N-Word

Fashion designer Michael Costello is in hot water after several accusations have come out about him being a bully, a racist, and a sexual harasser. 

It started in March when Courtney Stodden called out Chrissy Teigen for bullying her on Twitter in 2012 after she married 50-year-old acting coach Doug Hutchison when she was just 16. Teigen issued a lengthy apology on Monday dubbing herself a “troll” and admitting that her “targets didn’t deserve” any of her “past horrible tweets.” She also said that there are other people she used to troll on Twitter back in the day that she is working on apologizing to now. 

(From left) Leona Lewis, Michael Costello, Maxie James. (Photos: @leonalewis/Instagram, @michaelcostello/Instagram, @maxiejofficial/Instagram)

But shortly after posting her apology, Costello accused Teigen of making a false accusation about him being a racist in 2014 after she alleged that he used the n-word. Costello said this not only made him lose business but also had him contemplating suicide claiming that “for the past 7 years, I’ve lived with a deep, unhealed trauma.” Costello also shared screenshots of him reaching out to the mother of two to talk, and of her telling him that “racist people like you deserve to suffer and die.” 

However, the tables have turned, and Costello is now the accused. “Bleeding Love” singer Leona Lewis shared a 6-part written statement on her Instagram Story accusing Costello of being a bully. She said in 2014 she was invited to do a fashion show for charity. Costello was assigned to be her designer, but when she got to New York, she said, “I was made to feel very awkward and uncomfortable as the dress was a sample size and he/his team clearly did not want to alter it to fit me.” 

Lewis went on to explain there was another fitting the night before the show to which Costello did not show up and, according to her, he “no longer wanted to dress me and he abandoned his commitments to me and the show.” She added that because she did not have the correct body type for the dress, she “was not permitted to walk in his dress,” and instead, “had to sit in the audience.” 

Leona Lewis issues statement about her encounter with Michael Costello (Photo: leonalewis/Instagram)

The 36-year-old said the move left her feeling “embarrassed and deeply hurt.” She also said that although she is not “discounting Michael’s experience” with Teigen, that he should consider “when people apologize (Chrissy) and show sincere remorse and rehabilitation, we should embrace them and not try to kick them when they’re down.” 

Costello responded with six posts on his IG story saying he’s “not sure what happened” and consistently used a 2015 photo from her Instagram page where she is wearing a red dress with the caption “So sassy in my @michaelcostello dress.” He also showed receipts of Lewis’ team asking for a dress to be made for her last month. In the post, he said, “If I made you feel bad in 2014 but you still wore my dresses and request them can we try and figure out what got lost in translation with the dress you wore?” He then issued a lengthy apology and offered for the two to have a conversation.

But now Maxie James, who is also a fashion designer, is claiming that she is the one that Costello called the N-word. In a June 16 interview with The Jasmine Brand, James claims Teigen was just “defending” herself and even alleged that she had gotten into a “fistfight in a fabric store” with Costello. James also denied Costello’s claims of him calling her the N-word online being photoshopped. She said that lie was created by his “PR team spinning it around.”

James claims the incident started when she first got into the fashion industry and Costello bought one of her dresses for $200 just to resell it on his platform as his own for $1000. 

Maxie James comments on news of Michael Costello calling out Chrissy Teigen (Photo: @theshaderoom/Instagram)

She said she posted his receipt and the picture of him reposting the dress on Instagram, and it went viral. That’s when he called her the N-word in the comments of the post as he was defending himself against the commenters. She said a year later, they crossed paths in a fabric store, and at first glance, he didn’t recognize her, but after the store clerk said her name he remembered. James said Costello walked over to her and said, “Oh, I remember you, you’re that Black n-gger b-tch that tried to sabotage my business.” James claimed Costello proceeded to take her phone out of her hand and throw it on the floor, causing it to shatter. 

After the police came and witnesses sided with her saying “he definitely abused her first,” James declined the opportunity to press charges so that he wouldn’t press any against her. However, the next day he posted a photo of him bruised and battered and hashtagged her business name under the photo. Many of his supporters called her a “monster” in the comments, but one of Costello’s team members recognized the photo as being one from an old bar fight a year ago and told her that in her DMs. 

James said once she posted videos of her Instagram of the store owner confirming her statement, she said, “all those pictures that had my brand hashtagged under it were gone.” She said she let the situation go and deleted the photos when she saw he deleted them. When she saw everything going on between Costello and Teigen, fans of hers tagged her under the post, and that’s when she decided to speak out about the incident.

On top of that, on the same day as James’ interview, makeup artist Jordan Liberty accused Costello of sexual harassment while he was going through chemotherapy. “Randomly he sends me a collage of d-ck pics,” and his reaction “is this guy for real.” Liberty said he felt “immediately uncomfortable” and said, “can we just normalize if people send you pictures like that without your consent that should be considered a form of harassment or assault.”

Costello hasn’t responded to James nor Liberty at the time of this writing.

Back to top