From the first tweet and costar reactions to Lea's poorly-received apology, here's what you missed on Glee!
Lea Michele became a lightning rod of controversy this week after she tweeted out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, prompting a response from a Black, former "Glee" costar who felt disrespected by her behavior on set.
It all began on May 29, when Michele tweeted, "George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter." That tweet was met with criticism from Samantha Ware, who played Jane Hayward on the final season of the show.
Lea Michele Accused of Making Glee Costar's Life 'A Living Hell' After Black Lives Matter PostView Story
Ware re-posted Lea's message on June 1. "Remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?" she added, in all caps. "I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would 'shit in my wig!' amongst [sic] traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood."
Yvette Nicole Brown jumped into Ware's replies, adding, "I felt every one of those capital letters." Alex Newell -- who joined the show in the fourth season before becoming a series regular in Season 5 -- then echoed Brown's sentiment and quickly shared a meme of RuPaul looking on carefully through binoculars and another of "Drag Race" contestant Coco Montrese saying "Get her, Jade!"
Newell went on to share a GIF of Nicki Minaj stirring the pot, liked Ware's initial tweet and retweeted some more reactions from Amber Riley -- who posted some telling GIFs of her own before shifting focus back to the Black Lives Matter movement.
https://t.co/80ohlWM4Yd pic.twitter.com/tcfQyhgiGP— Alex Newell (@thealexnewell) June 2, 2020 @thealexnewell
June 2, 2020 @MsAmberPRiley
#DefundThePolice #prosecutekillercops #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/8l1KzU8cEv— Amber Patrice Riley (@MsAmberPRiley) June 2, 2020 @MsAmberPRiley
"Child we ain't got not a damn thing to lie about 6 years later," Newell also tweeted. "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!"
Fellow "Glee" star Melissa Benoist also liked Ware's tweets, but did not chime in herself with any additional claims.
On June 2, food delivery service HelloFresh dropped Michele as one of their partners, after people began tweeting them about Michele's alleged behavior.
"HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind," the company shared on Twitter. "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."
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Early June 3, Michele finally responded to Ware's claims with a lengthy Instagram post.
In the post -- in which she never mentioned Ware by name -- Michele said she did not remember the incident her costar brought up. Saying she has "never judged others by their background or color of their skin," Lea also said she "[apologized] for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused."
While she did say she was "sorry" throughout the post, she also talked a lot about how her behavior was "perceived" by others. That word in particular concerned many of her fans, who felt she wasn't taking full accountability for her actions.
Perceived? Purcieved? Purse?— SAMEYAAAAAA (@Sammie_Ware) June 3, 2020 @Sammie_Ware
Open your purse??????????????https://t.co/pQ71xtsyxD
Even Ware appeared to shade Lea's words, pointing out how Lea used the word "perceived" throughout her statement. On the 3rd, Ware also tweeted, "Perceived? Purcieved? Purse? Open your purse??????????????"
"This isn't an apology," commented Emma Hunton, who briefly costarred in "Spring Awakening" with Michele on Broadway in 2008.
Added show understudy Gerard Canonico, "You were nothing but a nightmare to me and fellow understudy cast members. You made us feel like we didn't belong there. I tried for years to be nice to you to no avail. Maybe actually apologize instead of placing the blame on how others 'perceive' you."
"Real Housewives of New York" alum Aviva Drescher even got in on Lea's Instagram comments, writing, "You were once very unkind to me so I am not surprised by your behavior. You shouldn't judge others before looking in the mirror."
June 3, 2020 @HeatherMorrisTV
Following Lea's apology, former costar Heather Morris -- who played Brittany S. Pierce -- shared her own experience with the actress on social media.
"Let me be very clear, Hate is a disease in America that we are trying to cure, so I would never wish for hate to be spread to anyone else," Morris began on Twitter. "With that said, was she unpleasant to work with? Very much so; for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out."
Morris then got a little introspective, saying she too -- and anyone else who witnessed what allegedly happened -- should also be to blame. "It's also on us because to allow it to go on for so long without speaking out is something else we're learning along with the rest of society," she continued.
"But, at the current moment it's implied that she is a racist and although I cannot comment on her beliefs, I think we're assuming, and you know what happens when we all assume..." Morris concluded.
Producer Says Glee's Male 'Bullies' Need to Be Called Out Like Lea Michele in Since-Deleted TweetsView Story
Producer Marti Noxon, who worked on the show for one season, was the next to speak out about bullying on set -- basically saying Michele wasn't the only one.
"Hey, I'm all for calling out bad behavior and even for some schadenfreude when that behavior is punished," she tweeted. "That said, on GLEE there were LOTS of bad actors. Who were NOT women. People in the industry know who I'm talking about. Why aren't we calling them out?"
"It seems to me that women are the first to go under the bus. But a lot of males get away with being the bullies-in-chief," she continued in those deleted tweets. "How come we let them get away with it? Maybe it's because as long as they earn someone money, they get a pass."
After deleting her posts, Noxon attempted to clarify her point, even backing down from the phrase "bad actors."
I apologize for causing confusion. This is an emotional time and my industry, just like all industries, has problems it needs to fix. We are working on it - and it’s getting slowly better.— NOX NOX WHO’S WEARING A MASK? (@martinoxon) June 3, 2020 @martinoxon
I was on that show for one season, and only part time. By and large the people I met there were wonderful. And the crew was fantastic. But when bullies are allowed to act that way - there is a culture that permits it. That’s all I was saying. Thanks. Stay safe.— NOX NOX WHO’S WEARING A MASK? (@martinoxon) June 3, 2020 @martinoxon
Iqbal Theba, better known by Gleeks as Principal Figgins, showed some support for Michele on Twitter on Wednesday as well.
"Lot of people r assuming that @LeaMichele mistreated me. Let me state it clearly that I was never mistreated by her. And if some of the cast were treated badly then she has apologized for it which is wonderful," he tweeted out.
"But being called a racist is too heavy & unfair a burden 4 most of us, specially in these troubled times," he continued. "So, please be compassionate, careful & responsible before we accuse anyone of this horrible thing called racism. I love each & everyone of my fellow cast members from our great show."
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During an Instagram Live on the 3rd, Amber Riley spoke more in depth about Ware's allegations -- but also came short of calling Michele a "racist." Showing support for Ware, Riley said the two had spoken since she called out Lea and said she was "proud" of her for speaking her truth.
"I'm not going to say that Lea Michele is racist," Riley continued. "That's not what I'm saying. That was the assumption because of what's going on right now in the world and it happened toward a Black person. I'm not going to say that she's racist. She's also pregnant and I think that everybody needs to kind of chill. Y'all dragged her for a couple of days."
"I'm gonna say this and it's gonna be the end. I don't give a shit about this Lea Michele thing. I really don't give a f--k! I don't!" she said plainly. "I don't want to be asked about it ... I don't give a shit!"
"People are out here dying, being murdered by police!" she emphasized, going on to also speak about the deaths of trans women at the hands of men. Of her former co-star, all Riley would say was, "I wish Lea Michele well. I hope that she has an amazing pregnancy. I hope that she has grown."
Lea Michele Gets Backlash from Former Costars and Fans for Samantha Ware ApologyView Story
On Thursday, June 4, Dean Geyer -- who played Michele's love interest during season four of Glee -- called her "one of my favorite costars that I have had the pleasure of working with."
He also praised her work ethic to DailyMail and, speaking only from his own experience, added "No one showed any signs of discomfort while Lea was on set. If I'm basing my opinion off my season, there definitely shouldn't be a reason for a backlash."
Other fellow costars weren't as complimentary, as Broadway actress Elizabeth Aldrich tweeted about her alleged experience with Michelle from 1998. "I was Lea Michele's [understudy] in Ragtime. She was absolutely awful to me and ensemble. She demeaned the crew and threatened to have people fired if she was in anyway displeased. I used to cry every night from the mean and manipulative things she would do. She was 12. She was terrifying"
Dabier Snell, who appeared in one episode of "Glee" in 2014, also tweeted at Michele saying, "GIRL YOU WOULDNT LET ME SIT AT THE TABLE WITH THE OTHER CAST MEMBERS CAUSE 'I DIDNT BELONG THERE' F–K YOU LEA."