Actors Speak Out Over Lea Michele Controversy, 'Glee' Star Samantha Marie Ware Responds to Apology

Thursday June 4, 2020

A number of actors who have worked with Lea Michele are speaking out after actor Samantha Marie Ware, who appeared on "Glee" with Michele, recently called her out on Twitter, saying Michele made her work on the comedy-musical "a living hell" and that she "questioned a career in Hollywood" due to her behavior. Ware also reacted to Michele's recent apology on Twitter.

Amber Riley, who was part of the core "Glee" cast for six season, initially reacted to Ware's tweet by posting a series of tea-sipping GIFs. But when speaking with writer Danielle Young on Instagram this week, Variety reports she stood by Ware's comments.

"I'm not going to say that Lea Michele is 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," Riley said. "I'm not going to say that she's racist. She's also pregnant and I think that everyone needs to chill. Y'all dragged her for a couple of days.

"But at the same time, in my inbox there are a lot of Black actors and actresses telling me their stories and letting me know they have dealt with the same things on set, being terrorized by the white girls that are the leads of the show," she said.

Actor Heather Morris, who also appeared on "Glee," took to Twitter to react to the Michele controversy.

"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," she wrote. "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.

"And yes, 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," Morris added. "But, at the current moment its implied that she is a racist and although I cannot comment on her beliefs, I think we're assuming, and you know what happened when we all assume."

"Community" star Yvette Nicole Brown, who appeared on the ABC show "The Mayor" alongside Michele, responded to Ware's tweet, saying she "felt every one of those capital letters," referring to Ware's initial all-caps tweet calling out Michele.

"Every person on a set matters. Every person on a set deserves respect. And it is the responsibility of every series regular to make every person who visits their home feel welcome," she tweeted. "This dismissive attitude is what's wrong in Hollywood and the world."

Alex Newell, who appeared on "Glee" as well, shared a tweet but did not mention Michele or Ware by name.

Variety reports that Gerard Canonico, who was an understudy on the Broadway play "Spring Awakening," commented on Michele's Instagram apology that she was "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," Canonico added. "Maybe actually apologize instead of placing the blame on how others 'perceive' you. You'll probably just delete this though."

Ware's call out came when Michele tweeted in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and condemned the killing of George Floyd. Ware accused Michele of making "traumatic microaggressions" towards her during their time on "Glee" together.

After losing a sponsorship deal with Hello Fresh, Michele eventually apologized, telling People magazine in a statement that she's sorry for how her past behavior has been "perceived" by others.

Ware seemingly responded to Michele's apology by tweeting "Perceived? Purcieved? Purse? Open your purse??????????????" and adding a link to a GoFundMe page for James Surlock, a 22-year-old black man who was shot in killed in Omaha, Nebraska while protesting Floyd's killing.

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