Last month, Samantha Ware responded to a tweet by Lea Michele in support for justice for the death of George Floyd, claiming that the actress threatened to “s**t in her wig” and incited a series of microaggressions and bullying. Then, in a recent Variety article, she explained the full story.
“I knew from day one when I attempted to introduce myself,” Ware explained. “There was nothing gradual about it. As soon as she decided that she didn’t like me, it was very evident. It was after I did my first performance, that’s when it started – the silent treatment, the stare-downs, the looks, the comments under her breath, the weird passive aggressiveness. It all built up.”
“When you’re shooting a scene, sometimes the camera is on you and sometimes it’s not, but you still have to be in the scene. The camera wasn’t on us, so it’s not like we had to give a full throttle performance, but apparently, I was goofing around when the camera wasn’t on me, and she took that as me being disrespectful to her.”
“She waited until the scene was over and she stopped in the middle of the stage and did a ‘come here’ gesture, like how a mother does to their child,” added Ware. According to Ware, Michele told her, “You need to come here right now,” before the actress politely refused, having already felt embarrassed enough for being publicly shamed in front of dancers and extras.
“I said ‘no,’ and that’s when she decided to threaten my job, and said she would call Ryan Murphy in to come and fire me,” Ware said.
“When I tried to speak up for myself, she told me to shut my mouth. She said I don’t deserve to have that job. She talked about how she has reign. And here’s the thing: I completely understood that, and I was ready to be like, ‘This is your show. I’m not here to be disrespectful.’ But at that point, we were already past the respect and she was just abusing her power.”
Jenna Hipp Spencer (Lea Michele's nail artist)
Lea Michele’s nail artist Jenna Hipp Spencer defended her friend against the several allegations against her, writing that she’s “devastated” and “heartbroken” for Michele.
“For over 10 years, we’ve shared many of her most private moments, and mine,” Spencer wrote. “From great joys and successes to unimaginable sorrow and pain, I have witnessed Lea’s sheer and determined strength, unbreakable confidence, her brilliance. Her integrity. Her love.”
“Lea has an extreme and unique ability to completely accept those who can’t accept themselves. She can see past what others can’t forgive, a character quality I’ve always admired.”
“She’s a warrior. She’s a leader. She’s so special. I love Lea for all she is and all she gives...and so should you.”
Following Samantha Ware’s original comments about Lea Michele, Alex Newell started sharing gifs and defending his friends for speaking out on their experience.
The Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist star tweeted, “I’m gonna say this one time, when my friends go through something traumatic, I also go through it. That’s what friendship is and if you can’t understand that then you’re part of the problem, and that’s on PERIODT! And I mean that for both sides of this coin!”
Like Newell, when Samatha Ware first tweeted about her experience with Lea Michele, Amber Riley shared a series of gifs of herself enthusiastically agreeing and sipping tea.
Then, after Ware told her full story to Variety, Riley tweeted, “[Samantha Ware,] you are a superhero. Your Variety article made me feel liberated! I know you’re getting some hate, but you have my support sis. #UNMUTEny keep telling your stories everyone.”
That said, when asked about her own experience with Michele on an Instagram Live with comedian Danielle Lee, Riley encouraged people to focus on what really matters right now—the current Black Lives Matter movement, confessing, “I don’t give a s**t about this Lea Michele thing. I really don’t give a f**k.”
“I’m not going to say she’s racist,” Riley responded. "I wish Lea Michele well, I hope that she has an amazing pregnancy. I hope that she is grown and that she understands.”
“The apology she put out, I didn’t read it because I told y’all, I don’t give a s**t about it… She reached out to me, I responded to her. That’s where it ends for me. I ain’t talked to that girl in two years. I have no hatred or ill-will on that end.
Never Have I Ever star Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins admitted that he was “never mistreated” by Lea, and that “If some of the cast were treated badly then she has apologized for it which is wonderful.”
Lea Michele’s season four love interest Dean Geyer (Brody Weston) shared Theba’s sentiments, adding that based on his experience with the Scream Queens actress, there "definitely shouldn't be a reason for a backlash".
Melissa Benoist, who joined Glee in season 4 and is perhaps best known as Supergirl in CW’s Supergirl TV series, liked one of Ware’s original tweets. And you know what they say: a like says a 1000 tweets...
In the midst of the Lea Michele controversy, a fan tweeted at Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) about whether Chord Overstreet (Sam Evans) was a Trump supporter (lmao, what?). McHale responded “false.”
“What is he saying false to tho, just Chord or the overall thread [about Lea Michele]?” asked one fan.
Heather Morris, who played Brittany Pierce on the musical comedy TV show, tweeted something that’s both in support of Lea Michele and the victims of the allegations against her.
“For Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out,” Morris wrote. “And yet, 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.”
“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 you know what happens when we all assume…”
Naya Rivera and Lea Michele have a long unrivalled feud that started when they were on Glee together. And, while Rivera has yet to publicly address the recent Lea Michele controversy, the actress has known of Michele’s behaviour for a while.
In her book, Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes and Growing Up, the actress, best known for her role as Santana Lopez, wrote, “one of the Glee writers once said that Lea and I were like two sides of the same battery and that about sums us up. We are both strong willed and competitive—not just with each other but with everyone—and that’s not a good mixture.”
“I think Rachel—erm, I mean Lea—didn’t like sharing the spotlight… If I’d complained about anyone or anything, she’d assumed I was b**ching about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn’t say a word to me for all of season six.”