In the past few weeks, amidst calls against racial injustices in America, celebrities have been busy pledging their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Glee alum Lea Michele's Twitter post supporting BLM came under fire when ex-co-star from Glee, Samantha Ware accused her of racist behavior on the sets of the show. Now, in a new interview, Ware has revealed Michele's problematic behavior had been in effect from day one.
"I knew from day one when I attempted to introduce myself. 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."
Glee was a show about a group of high schoolers attempting to win the national Glee singing competition. The musical drama series was a rating juggernaut and made stars out of many of its lead cast, Michele being at the top of the list. According to Samantha Ware, Michele was aware of and regularly abused her power on the show, with the rest of the cast and crew seeing no choice but to remain silent.
"Lea's actions were nothing new, so I guess since it was such a common thing, my case didn't seem like that big of a deal. I remember the first day I actually spoke up and unfortunately no one did anything. They just shrugged it off, like 'That's her.' No one was stopping these things, which is an issue because the environment was helping perpetuate this abuse."
Ware calling out Michele on Twitter prompted other actors who had worked with her, many of whom are black, to also come out and voice their grievances against the actress regarding her poor behavior. This has led to Michele being labeled a racist by some, and Ware says she got an early glimpse of that kind of behavior simply because of a laugh.
"She had an issue because I had laughed [when watching a scene] and that's when the 'I'm going to s-t in your wig' comment happened. Some chuckled and some gasped. It was mortifying. The whole point was for her to embarrass me. People heard her, but no one was going to stand up to her."
Following the intense backlash from fans, Michele issued a statement on Instagram in which she claimed not to remember being unpleasant to Ware, but apologized for hurting the feelings of others. Many felt the apology was insincere, and Ware agrees with that assessment.
"It shouldn't have to take my tweet. When you tweet, "Black lives matter," that would mean you have an understanding of what that hashtag means, but it's clear that it doesn't. Does Lea even know what a microaggression is? I don't know. All that her apology did was affirm that she hasn't learned anything. Am I calling Lea a racist? No. Does Lea have racist tendencies? I think Lea suffers from a symptom of living in this world in an industry that is tailored to white people."
Quotes from this story were first shared at Variety.