Lea Michele has issued an apology after her former “Glee” co-star Samantha Marie Ware accused Michele of making her life “a living hell” on set, a comment that was backed up by some other actors of color who are also alums of the Ryan Murphy Fox series.
“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,” Michele wrote in a lengthy statement posted to Instagram Wednesday. “When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbors and communities of color during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them.”
She continued: “While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, 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.”
The statement concluded: “I am a couple of months from becoming a mother and I know I need to keep working to better myself and take responsibility for my actions, so that I can be a real role model for my child and so I can pass along my lessons and mistakes, so that they can learn from me. 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.”
On May 29, Michele tweeted a statement in support of George Floyd, who died while in police custody on Memorial Day, writing, “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Ware, who played student singer Jane Hayward on the now-ended Fox show’s sixth season, responded to the tweet: “Remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause I’ll never forget. I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would ‘s– in my wig!’ amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”
Other “Glee” alums weighed in, with Alex Newell and Amber Riley sharing GIFs (see Newell’s here and Riley’s here and here) and “Black Lightning” actor Dabier, who appeared in an episode of “Glee” in 2014, writing: “Girl, you wouldn’t let me sit at the table with the other cast members cause ‘I didn’t belong there. F-k you Lea.”
Complaints also came from other castmembers, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 5 competitor Willam Belli, who said Michele treated them as “subhuman.”
On Tuesday, meal-kit company HelloFresh ended its partnership with Michele, issuing this statement:
“HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind. We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele. We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately.”
Representatives for Murphy, the Fox broadcast network and “Glee” studio 20th Century Fox Television did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on Ware’s remarks about Michele’s on-set behavior.
See Michele’s statement via her Instagram post below.