“When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbours and communities of colour during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behaviour towards fellow cast members was perceived by them,” the Scream Queens actress said in an Instagram post, shortly after Hello Fresh revoked her sponsorship.
“While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or colour 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 apologise for my behaviour and for any pain which I have caused.”
In response, Gerard Canonico, who worked with Michele on the Broadway musical Les Misérables, commented—after the controversial Glee actress allegedly deleted his first comment—“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 apologise instead of placing the blame on how others “perceive” you.”
Then, Glee’s Heather Morris added that while “hate is a disease in America that they are trying to cure” with the current protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement, Lea Michele was still “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 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.”
But, apparently, Morris disagrees with allegations that her co-star is racist, adding “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 happens when we all assume…”
But, with at least four people of colour from the show claiming Michele treated them with disrespect, and the actress’s infamous feud with Naya Rivera, and what’s going on in the world right now… we need to listen to black voices now more than ever and stand with them. Michele is an adult and should be held accountable for her actions.
And, if anything, non-black people need to be better than “not racist.” We need to be anti-racist and supporting our Indigenous Australian and black friends and helping fight against the injustice they face.
“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,” concluded Lea Michele. “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.”