Lea Michele’s apology backfires as more ‘Glee’ cast and crew wade into the fray

Lea Michele
Lea Michele received some harsh criticism for her apology to her “Glee” costars.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

The drama surrounding “Glee” alum Lea Michele has somehow gotten messier.

On Wednesday, multiple members of the original “Glee” cast, along with a producer for the TV series, shared their thoughts on the controversy as Michele’s apology sparked another backlash. Earlier this week, actress Samantha Marie Ware accused Michele of subjecting her to verbal abuse and “other traumatic microaggressions” on the set of the high-school musical.

For the record:

5:59 p.m. June 4, 2020A previous version of this article stated that Danielle Young works for Essence magazine. She no longer works at Essence, and her interview with Amber Riley was for “Real Quick With Danielle Young.”

“Glee” star Amber Riley directly addressed the situation on Wednesday for the “first and last time” while appearing on “Real Quick With Danielle Young” on Instagram Live. The singer and actress commented on the recent allegations brought against Michele by Ware, who claimed Michele made her experience on set “a living hell.”

“I’m very proud of her for standing up for herself. I’m very proud of Samantha,” Riley said, adding that she recently spoke with Ware on FaceTime. “I am not going to say that Lea Michele’s racist. 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 ... we’re classy around here.”


On Wednesday morning, Michele apologized for her past behavior, lamenting how it was “perceived” by her colleagues. Though she and Michele have spoken privately, Riley has not read her apology and does not intend to.

Right now, she’d rather focus on “defunding the police, prosecuting killer cops” and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I don’t give a s— about this Lea Michele thing,” she continued. “I don’t want to be asked about it. ... People are out here, dying, being murdered by police. Trans women are being murdered at the hands of men.

“I wish Lea Michele well. I hope she has an amazing pregnancy. I hope that she has grown ... I have no hatred or ill will on that end. I want to make that very clear, that my life and what I talk about is not going to be about that. I will shut it down immediately.”

Lea Michele issued an apology after “Glee” alumni Samantha Marie Ware and Alex Newell called her out on Twitter for “traumatic microaggressions.”

June 3, 2020


On Twitter, actress Heather Morris also weighed in on the accusations leveled against Michele. Morris played spacey cheerleader Brittany alongside Riley’s vocal powerhouse, Mercedes Jones, on “Glee.”

“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 wrote in a statement. “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.

“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. 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 we know what happens when we all assume...”

Ware, who played show choir member Jane Hayward in the musical series’ final season, appeared to mock Michele’s apology Wednesday on Twitter. Many have criticized Michele for softening her statement by using the word “perceived” to describe her actions and not naming Ware specifically.

“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,” Michele wrote in her apology.

“Perceived?” Ware later echoed on Twitter, encouraging her followers to donate to a memorial fund for 22-year-old protester James Scurlock, who recently was fatally shot after police say he tussled with the owner of two bars in Omaha. “Open your purse??????????????”

Others who have remarked on Michele’s reputation are “Glee” actor Alex Newell, who backed Ware up immediately after she spoke out Monday, and “Glee” producer Marti Noxon, who argued in since-deleted tweets that the men on the show deserved to be called out too.

“I’m all for calling out bad behavior and even for some schadenfreude when that behavior is punished,” Noxon tweeted, according to screenshots obtained by People magazine. “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?”