Naya Rivera’s dad puts Ryan Murphy on blast over ‘broken’ promise of scholarship fund

Naya Rivera in a black shirt, brushing her hair back with one hand
Naya Rivera’s father went public with complaints about “Glee” co-creator Ryan Murphy on Tuesday.
(Taylor Jewell / Associated Press)

Naya Rivera’s father accused Ryan Murphy on Tuesday of failing to set up a promised scholarship fund for the “Glee” actress’ son following her drowning death last July. The writer-producer responded soon after to dispute that claim.

The pledge to help fund Josey Dorsey’s education was made July 14, 2020, a day after Rivera’s body was found and less than a week after she drowned while the two were out boating on Lake Piru, northwest of Santa Clarita.

Murphy and fellow “Glee” co-creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan said in a statement at the time praising the late actress that they were “in the process of creating a college fund” for her son, who is now 5 and in the custody of his dad, Ryan Dorsey. Rivera and Dorsey divorced in 2018 after four years of marriage but had joint custody of their son.


“Glee” star Naya Rivera, who died during a boat outing with her son last week, was known for showstopping performances on the series. Here are the 10 best.

July 13, 2020

On Tuesday afternoon, George Rivera, the actress’ father, responded to an old tweet from a woman who had praised the statement from Murphy et al last year.

“Everyone needs to know what Ryan Murphy really did ... or didn’t do!!! I’m about to blow up this story ... and make sure he’s knows that I know,” Rivera tweeted. “Get the glee tweeters on this!!!!”

He continued in additional tweets, saying, “When you are part of the Hollywood elite, some people treat others as they are ‘less than’ .... vocalize a good game, but it’s as shallow as the sets on stage, that they create. Promises made in public, only to fade with time and excuses .... even in a unexplainable tragedy ...” Rivera alleged. “Broken Promises..... fake outrage .... hollow gestures ..... no phone call.”

Soon after, Murphy tweeted, “Myself, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan have committed to create a college fund for Naya Rivera’s child Josey through the Naya Rivera Estate Trust. We have been in repeated conversations with the appropriate executors of her estate.”

A woman on Twitter commented on Murphy’s tweet, “My guess is because he [George Rivera] isn’t privy to the details. He’s not the guardian of her son, the boys father is. I know nothing of their relationship though. Just a guess.”


To that, George Rivera replied, “Wrong!!”

Murphy’s representatives didn’t reply to a request for further comment Wednesday.

Naya Rivera played Santana, a cheerleader in the musical-comedy “Glee” that aired on Fox from 2009 until 2015. She earned a reputation as an LGBTQ icon after her character came out as lesbian.

Josey, who was 4 when his mother died, was found sleeping alone in a boat that 33-year-old Naya Rivera had rented the afternoon of July 8, 2020.

Last November, Ryan Dorsey sued the United Water Conservation District, which operates Lake Piru, as well as Ventura County and the boat rental company, alleging they failed to properly warn against the dangers of swimming in the lake and to provide adequate safety equipment on the rented pontoon boat. Rivera’s estate and business manager also joined in the lawsuit, which was filed in Ventura County.

Naya Rivera’s family sues Ventura County, water district over her Lake Piru drowning death

Nov. 18, 2020

Josey had heard his mother cry for help as she struggled to stay afloat and searched for a rope on the boat to throw to her, according to the lawsuit. When he looked back to where she had been, Rivera was gone, the suit said. Josey yelled for help and cried before falling asleep in his life vest.

Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.