Multiple Glee cast members have accused Lea Michele of bullying and racial mircoagressions.
Lea Michele has addressed claims that she ‘bullied’ her Black co-stars on the set of Glee.
Lea Michele shot to fame for playing Rachel Berry on the musical series Glee in 2009. Since the series wrapped in 2015, there have been multiple rumours flying around about the 36-year-old actress’ behaviour on set.
In 2020, Lea’s Glee co-star Samantha Ware claimed that Lea was a bully and accused the star of racial microagressions. In response, Lea released a statement on Instagram and said: “I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused.”
Now, Lea has spoken out again saying that her “pursuit of perfectionism” in her work led to “blind spots”.
In a new interview with The New York Times, Lea is asked about the bullying and racist microagression accusations and, although she does not reference the claims directly, she says she has recently reflected on how she comes across to others both on and off camera.
“I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader,” Lea says. “It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.”
Lea declines to discuss Samantha’s claims directly but she says: “I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”
Lea was previously criticised by Samantha and some of her former Glee cast mates after she tweeted in support of Black Lives Matter in 2020. The star took to social media in June 2020 to speak out in defence of George Floyd and express her solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. She tweeted: “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter”.
Shortly after posting the tweet, Lea’s former Glee co-stars, Samantha Ware, Alex Newell and Amber Riley accused her of hypocrisy.
Samantha Ware, who starred as Jane in Glee season 6, retweeted Lea writing: “LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON 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…”
Alex Newell, who played Unique in Glee, retweeted Samantha with a gif of Coco Montrese in RuPaul’s Drag Race saying, “Get her Jade!”. They then added: “I’m gonna say this one time… when my friends goes through something traumatic I also go through it… that’s what friendship is… and if you can’t understand that then you’re part of the problem… and that’s on PERIODT! And I mean that for both sides of this coin!”
Meanwhile, Amber Riley, who played the role of Mercedes throughout the show, appeared to allude to experiencing similar microaggressions with Lea. She posted a gif of her nodding in agreement.
I’m gonna say this one time… when my friends goes through something traumatic I also go through it… that’s what friendship is… and if you can’t understand that then you’re part of the problem… and that’s on PERIODT! And I mean that for both sides of this coin!— Alex Newell (@thealexnewell) June 2, 2020
Elsewhere in the New York Times interview, Lea shuts down the rumours and memes saying that she can’t read or write. Lea said: “I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day. And then there’s a rumour online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”
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