michael-costello*Days after news surfaced of Michael Costello posting an alleged racial slur on Instagram, the celebrity designer is speaking out and denying it.

In a statement released to EURweb from Costello’s publicist, the former “Project Runway” contestant disputes reports of the slur, saying the image is a complete fake. Various media outlets, including EURweb, picked up the image, which was included with a comment posted in response to a Beyoncé fan urging the singer to cut ties with Costello.

According to the publicist, the image was believed to have been created using image editing software and distributed “by an Instagram account that has continually harassed and slandered Costello in an attempt to defame his character.”

“I have never used, and would never use, racial slurs,” Costello expressed in the statement. “The hurtful screenshot circulating is fake and does not represent my views on society, nor do I condone the use of such a terrible term. I have worked my whole life to further the cause of equality. Diversity is the very foundation that Michael Costello (the brand) was built upon. I am deeply upset and I am struggling to understand why someone would try to tarnish my reputation by creating a fake screenshot of me using a derogatory term.”

The publicist goes on to state the Instagram account has been the source of attacks on Costello’s brand as well as his family and employees. “It is believed that a disgruntled intern, who is no longer employed with the company, created the account,” the publicist mentioned.

As it stands, Costello has received support from Instagram regarding the situation, Costello’s attorney, Neama Rahmani, added.

“Fortunately, Instagram has been very cooperative in working with Mr. Costello to delete accounts created by the people who created the false picture and who are attempting to disseminate it,” said Rahmani, who is with West Coast Trial Lawyers. “Mr. Costello and his attorneys will continue working with Instagram and the legal system to bring these cyber bullies to justice.”