At the end of last week, as global protests were spreading in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, Lea Michele tweeted her support for Black Lives Matter. “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end,” she wrote.
Shortly after, Michele’s former Glee co-star Samantha Marie Ware quote-tweeted Michele’s statement and accused Michele of misconduct on the set of the show, which ran from 2010 to 2015. “Remember when you made my first [television] gig a living hell?!?! Cause [I’ll] never forget,” Ware wrote in all caps. “I believe you told everyone that if [you] had the opportunity you would ‘shit in my wig!’ Amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”
Fellow Glee star Alex Newell joined in to support Ware with a GIF, and later tweeted, “When my friends goes through something traumatic I also go through it… that’s what friendship is.” Other actors who appeared on Glee, including Dabier and Amber Riley, supported and shared statements as well.
This morning (June 3), Michele responded on Instagram with a note addressing and acknowledging the accusations. “When 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 really not the point,” Michele wrote. “What matters is that I clearly acted in ways that 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,” she continued. “We can all grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings.”
Michele, who announced her pregnancy in April, ended the note with an acknowledgement that her impending motherhood compels her 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.”
On June 2, meal-kit delivery company HelloFresh announced an end to its partnership with Michele after Ware’s comments. “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 company tweeted. “We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately.”
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“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,” Michele concluded her note. Read it in full above.
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