Lea Michele Scandal: Full List Of Who's Defending The 'Glee' Star And Who's Not

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Is Lea Michele A Diva? Who's Defending The'Glee' Star And Who's Against Her
Entertainment And News

Actress Lea Michele is trying to defend her reputation after a former co-star put her on blast on social media this week. Michele, like a lot of stars, put out a tweet expressing sympathy for the family of George Floyd after his death at the hands of the police. One of the singer's Black castmates from Glee used it as an opportunity to let the world know her experience working with Michele was the opposite of sympathetic.

RELATED: Who Is Samantha Ware? Everything To Know About Actress Who Accused Lea Michele Of 'Making Her Life Hell' On Glee

Samantha Ware accused Michele, who's currently pregnant with her first child, of being cruel to her on the set of Glee, to the point that Ware thought about leaving the profession. In the aftermath of that accusation, there weren't a lot of people jumping up to defend Michele. In fact, quite a few people who know her have confirmed that she was a diva on set — and unneccessarily cruel and unfriendly — after Ware came out with her accusations against her.

How the 'Is Lea Michele a diva?' (and possibly worse) scandal started:

Samantha Ware didn't hold back.

This drama all started when Michele tweeted about the murder of George Floyd. She wrote "George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter."


Ware played Jane Hayward on Glee for 11 episodes in 2015. Her remark opened up a Pandora's box of Lea Michele stories from people who knew and worked with her. 

Heather Morris confirmed that Michele wasn't a fun coworker. 

Heather Morris worked with Michele on Glee for almost 100 episodes so she had plenty of time to form an opinion of her castmate and the opinion she has isn't favorable.  "Was she unpleasant to work with?" Morrison tweeted. "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 doesn't like Michele. 

Amber Riley says Michele isn't racist, but says her bad behavior isn't an isolated incident.

Ware is a person of color and for her to clap back so hard on a tweet referencing Black Lives Matter raised more than a few eyebrows. People on social media started to question whether part of Michele's treatment of Ware had anything to do with race. Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones on Glee stopped short of calling Michele racist in an interview. “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."

"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,” Riley continued.

Morris also held back on calling Michele racist. "[A]t 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 you know what happened when we all assume,” Morris said in her tweet.  

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Michele's bad reputation goes back years.

The allegations of Michele pushing diva attitude aren't anything new, as fans of the late Joan Rivers might remember. The height of Glee's popularity coincided with the years Joan Rivers was reigning over red carpets with her Fashion Police show on E!. Michele was often the butt of Rivers' jokes, and she would say the actress looked older than she was. Once she goaded Modern Family star Sarah Hyland into impersonating Michele, something Hyland later regretted

But Rivers may have been onto something when she snarked about Michele's reputation on set. In 2014, she said, “I heard that the cast of Glee refers to her as the Porta-Potty because no one wants to go anywhere near her unless they absolutely have to.

Co-star Naya Rivera wrote about Michele's annoying habit of holding up filming in her 2016 memoir Sorry Not Sorry. She remembered that complaining about Michele's lack of consideration so offended the tardy star that she didn't speak to Rivera for the rest of the season. 

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She was even rude to fans. True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld remembers being on the Paramount lot for an audition in 2009 and running into Michele there. "So I walked up to her and asked for her autograph, but she walked by and a guy came and said, 'Sorry, now's not a good time!'" Steinfeld has said of the incident. "I was so sad! I was practically crying on the way home."

And we don't know what Jessica Lange had heard about Michele in 2014 but she famously brushed right past her on the red carpet one time, leaving the Glee diva looking foolish. 

But some co-stars are defending Michele and have had different experiences.

The actor who played the principal on Glee has a different take. 

Iqbal Theta, played Principal Figgins for 58 episodes remembers her very differently than some of her other classmates. "Lot of people r assuming that @LeaMichele mistreated me. Let me state it clearly that I was never mistreated by her," he tweeted. "And if some of the cast were treated badly then she has apologized for it which is wonderful."

He joined Riley and Morris in cautioning people against calling Michele racist, saying "[P]lease be compassionate, careful & responsible before we accuse anyone of this horrible thing called racism."

An on-screen boyfriend also says she's great.

Dean Geyer, who played Michele's TV love interest in 2012 told reporters that he never had a problem with the star. “Lea is still one of my favorite costars that I have had the pleasure of working with. She is extremely hard working and super fun to be around,” the Australian actor said. “Her work ethic is so strong it forces you to always be on top of your game, and that’s something I looked forward to every day on set. I definitely learned a lot.”

“When jumping onto a hugely successful and established show like Glee, I went into it expecting to be known as the ‘new guy’ for at least a month, but that wasn’t the case at all,” he recalled. “I almost immediately felt welcomed, and to be totally honest, out of everyone, Lea was the most friendly to me.”

Her Instagram comments are blowing up.

She has been trying to do damage control with an apology note posted to her Instagram account. In it, she apologized for how other people perceived her behavior, but not for the behavior itself.

The note is drawing strong reactions. One commenter noted that Michele had such a bad reputation that some actors would avoid taking jobs on Glee, despite its high profile, just to avoid her. "When I first moved to LA, I was quickly immersed into a friend group of all background tv and movie actors (30-40 people). EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM had something very negative to say about how they were treated by you on the set of Glee," the Instagram user said. "There was a huge well known warning to not accept casting from Glee because of YOU. Just had to add to the endless negative encounters because this apology is a joke and you need to do better."

Another commenter who had worked on Glee remembered that she didn't get to see Michele on set, but it sounds like no one actually missed her. "I was on set of glee one day... you weren’t there, EVERYONE on set talked about how much nicer it was without you there."

Gerard Conico, who was part of the company of Spring Awakening, and who was an understudy for all the name leads in the Broadway production also jumped into her comments to share his experience. “Seems to have been deleted. So I’ll try again,” Canonico wrote. “You were 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. Maybe actually apologize instead of placing the blame on how others ‘perceive’ you. You’ll probably just delete this though.”

Michele tried to apologize.

Michele hasn't commented since her posted apology on Instagram. 

RELATED: What Does BIPOC Stand For?

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Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. She is the creator of the blog FeminXer and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.