Lea Michele apologizes after accusations from former Glee costar: 'I will be better'
Samantha Marie Ware claimed Michele made her life a "living hell" on the show.
Michele issued a lengthy statement on social media in which she apologized to those she hurt and promised to "be better in the future."
"One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people's perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face," she said.
Michele initially tweeted a show of support for the George Floyd protesters on Monday in stating Floyd "did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end." This prompted Ware to reply, "LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON [sic] GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU [sic] HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD 'S--- IN MY WIG! AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS [sic] THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD..."
"When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbors and communities of color during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them," Michele continued in her statement. "While I don't remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that's not really the point, what matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. 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. We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings."
Ware appeared as Jane Hayward, who hopes to join glee club group the Warblers on Glee, led by Blaine (Darren Criss), but ends up joining New Directions, led by Michele's character Rachel Berry. Ware recurred across 11 episodes of Glee in 2015.
In the days since Ware first tweeted about Michele's behavior, other Glee alums came out of the digital woodwork on social media, including Alex Newell, now a star on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, who encouraged Ware by sharing the "Get her, Jade" meme from RuPaul's Drag Race. Amber Riley, who starred opposite Michele starting in the first season, didn't tweet a statement but alluded to the situation by sharing gifs of herself.
Another former Glee actor, Dabier, tweeted that Michele "WOULDNT [sic] LET ME SIT AT THE TABLE WITH THE OTHER CAST MEMBERS CAUSE 'I DIDNT [sic] BELONG THERE.'"
"I am a couple of months from becoming a mother and I know I need to keep working to better myself and take responsibility for my actions, so that I can be a real role model for my child and so I can pass along my lessons and mistakes, so that they can learn from me," Michele concluded. "I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience."
On Tuesday, HelloFresh announced in a statement shared on Twitter that it had dropped Michele as a brand ambassador in light of Ware's claims. "HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind," a rep for the company wrote. "We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele. We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately."