Lea Michele Accused of Making "Traumatic Microaggressions" Against Glee Co-Star Samantha Marie Ware
UPDATE 6/3/2020 8:00 P.M.: After Michele's apology, Ware posted a tweet commenting on her use of the word "perceived." Ware urged Michele donate to James Scurlock's family's GoFundMe. Scurlock was shot and killed during a protest in Omaha. "Perceived? Purcieved? Purse? Open your purse??????????????" Ware wrote, adding a link to the fundraiser.
UPDATE 6/3/2020 at 5:22 P.M: Glee star Heather Morris shared a message on Wednesday evening, agreeing with her co-stars that Michele was very "unpleasant" to work with. “For Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out,” she wrote, adding that the cast was partly at fault for allowing it “to go on for so long without speaking out.”
UPDATE 6/3/2020 at 7:45 A.M.: Lea Michelle has apologized after being accused of making "traumatic microaggressions" toward Black colleagues. In an exclusive statement to People, Michele said: "One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people's perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face."
She goes on to say that she doesn't remember making the statements but she has "never judged others by their background or color of their skin." She added, "That’s not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused. We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings."
Michele also mentioned that she is expecting a baby in a few months and that she needs to learn in order to "pass along my lessons and mistakes." She ended the apology saying, "I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience."
Lea Michele has been on receiving end of some terrible claims this week.
On Friday, the Glee star tweeted a brief message regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and the murder of George Floyd, writing, “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Michele’s former co-star on the FOX musical series, Samantha Marie Ware, who appeared in the bulk of the show’s sixth and final season, pointed out the hypocrisy in the actress’s words, writing, “LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISION GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD ‘SHIT IN MY WIG!’ AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD…"
Many of Michele’s former co-stars began to share similar reports. Daybreak star Jeanté Godlock, who was once an extra on Glee, wrote that Michele referred to background actors as “cockroaches” on set.
Actor and musician Dabier, who appeared in a 2014 episode of Glee, wrote that Michele told him he couldn’t sit at a table with the rest of the cast because he “didn’t belong."
Drag Race alum William Belli wrote that he left set due to Michele’s behavior toward him.
While other cast members didn’t explicitly corroborate these accounts, many showed their support. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist star Alex Newell, who appeared in several seasons of Glee, tweeted a series of gifs in response to Ware’s initial tweet.
Yvette Nicole Brown, who starred alongside Michele in short-lived ABC series The Mayor, wrote “I felt every one of those capital letters,” in response to Ware.
Glee lead Amber Riley also shared some telling gifs.
Fans noted that Melissa Benoist, who also appeared in several seasons of the series, “liked” multiple tweets from her former co-stars, including Ware’s original post.
Upsetting stories from non-castmembers were shared as well:
In addition to backlash from former coworkers and fans, some of Michele's business partners are cutting ties. Hello Fresh announced its decision via Twitter. "HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind. We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele," the post read. "We take this very seriously, and have terminated our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately."
Michele has yet to respond to these allegations.