Michele, 33, was accused of causing “traumatic” memories on the set of “Glee” by her former co-star Samantha Marie Ware, 28, who appeared in the sixth and final season of the popular TV series with the actress.
Ware slammed Michele on Twitter earlier in the week for making her first TV acting experience “a living hell” in response to a tweet Michele wrote in support of Black Lives Matter.
Samantha Ware called out Lea Michele over behavior she alleges happened while on the set of ‘Glee.’
“LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON [sic] GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET,” Ware’s tweet read. “I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU [SIC] HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD ‘S–T IN MY WIG!’ AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD…”
Other “Glee” stars backed Ware’s accusations, resulting in Michele issuing a public apology on Wednesday. Her apology, however, appears to have acted as a catalyst for other stars to recall her past toxic behavior.
Adding fuel to the fire was Heather Morris, another former actress from “Glee.”
Morris wrote in a tweet on Wednesday that Michele was “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,” Morris wrote. “And yet, 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.”
Meanwhile, Broadway actor Gerard Canonico shared his own negative memories of working with Michele. Canonico was reportedly an understudy in the original Broadway cast of “Spring Awakening” that Michele and Jonathan Groff starred in.
“You were nothing but a nightmare to me and fellow understudy cast members. You made us feel like we didn’t belong there,” he wrote.
Canonico then reportedly accused Michele of deleting his comment and reposted it a second time. He added that he “tried for years to be nice” to Michele “to no avail.”
“Glee” cast members Jenna Ushkowitz, Chord Overstreet, Darren Criss, Melissa Benoist, Jacob Artist, Naya Rivera and Alex Newell. Bottom (L-R bottom) Blake Jenner, Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Becca Tobin and Kevin McHale.
“Maybe actually apologize instead of placing the blame on how others ‘perceive’ you,” he concluded.
“Real Housewives of New York” star Aviva Drescher also appeared to find Michele’s apology inadequate, as she took to Instagram to comment that Michele was “once very unkind” to her. She implored Michele to not “judge others before looking in the mirror.”
Michele, who went on to star in “Scream Queens” and “The Mayor” following “Glee,” said in her statement on Wednesday that she had no memory of Ware’s claims but insisted that’s “not really the point.”
“What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other 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.”
Her statement continued: “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.”
Fans took issue with Michele claiming to have no recollection of her alleged mistreatment. Many branded it a “non-apology” in the comments section of her Instagram post.
Meanwhile, “Glee” star Amber Riley reacted to the controversy in an Instagram live interview where she claimed she doesn’t “give a s–t” about it because “people are out here dying, being murdered by police.”
Riley reportedly did not discuss accusations against Michele in detail. She said she was not going to call Michele racist but confirmed “Glee” was “not the most comfortable environment to work in.” She also supported Ware for speaking out.