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Inside The Theory That Lea Michele Can’t Read — Why Fans Think She’s Secretly Illiterate

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Lea Michele

A 2018 conspiracy theory that claims actress Lea Michele can't read has resurfaced as people on the internet continue to express their disappointment about her casting in a Broadway production of "Funny Girl."

The theory first emerged in quiet corners of the internet several years ago but often resurfaces in the form of memes and jokes every time the "Glee" star is in the spotlight.

Can Lea Michele read?

The bizarre theory started on Twitter after a 40-minute video was released titled "Lea Michele Is Illiterate," created by Jaye Hunt and Robert Ackerman for their podcast "One More Thing."

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Hunt and Ackerman, who formed the theory as a joke, found most of their evidence in Naya Rivera's memoir as Michele's "Glee" co-star discusses her feud with Michele.

While the original video has since been taken down, a TikTok user, Kelsey, managed to summarize the points made in the video.



According to her recap, the original theory claimed that Michele spent most of her childhood on Broadway, where she starred in "Les Misérables," and was thrown into fame so abruptly that she didn't have time to go to school and learn how to read and write.

Here are the key pieces of 'evidence' that Lea Michele is illiterate:

Michele has only appeared in Ryan Murphy productions, including both "Glee" and "Scream Queens." Many people assume that's the case because Murphy already knows about her illiteracy secret and feeds her lines on set so she can remember.

Another claim to the theory is that Michele's social media accounts are actually run by her assistants, with fans deducing that if an Instagram caption is only made up of emojis, then Michele wrote it and if there's a sentence that it was Michele's personal assistant.

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People have also pointed out photos of Michele signing books, claiming that her pen never actually touches the pages of the book and simply hovers over it. Additionally, her book "Brunette Ambition," doesn't consist of a lot of words and is mostly filled with pictures, recipes, and workouts.

Fans have also accused her of deliberately trying to distract from the rumor by sharing odd, seemingly unnatural videos of herself reading.



Lea Michele previously addressed the rumors that she can't read or write on two separate occasions.

In a tweet from 2018, that no longer exists since she deleted her account in 2020, Michele seemingly laughed off the theory, responding to a fan: "Loved READING this tweet and wanted to WRITE you back. Literally laughing out loud at all this. Love you!!"

During a Broadway and Vine event in Napa Valley at Carneros Resort’s Hilltop Vineyard in June 2022, Michele told the crowd, which was full of high school students, "You don’t have to go to college to be in theater.”

In the video from the event, according to Page Six, Michele seemed to poke fun at the theory.

"I didn’t go to college you guys, and look at me… There is a rumor online that I cannot read or write, which may have something to do with the fact I didn’t go to college.”

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.