Broadway star Lea Michele has mocked critics who claimed she couldn’t read or write.
Rumors that the actress was illiterate first spread in 2018 before resurfacing in 2022 after she landed the titular role of Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of “Funny Girl.” The “Glee” alum debuted in the role earlier this month before taking a temporary hiatus due to COVID-19.
The actress ridiculed her detractors in a hilarious TikTok video which came after she had also discussed the claims in an interview with the New York Times. Fellow actress Jameela Jamil also weighed in her support for the actress following the rumors making the headlines.
Read on to learn more.
Lea Michele’s TikTok Video
In her latest TikTok video, Michele refuted earlier claims that she couldn’t read or write. The 36-year-old actress shared a sound clip from an episode of the reality series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and added a written graphic to her post that said, “Calling Jonathan to read me the comments on my first TikTok.”
The little skit pokes fun at the claims that the star was illiterate, with the speculations becoming a viral internet meme in March 2018 and again in 2022. The actress has previously denounced the claims, yet they seem to have persisted for some reason.
Michele’s TikTok video comes in the wake of her temporary withdrawal from the Broadway production of Funny Girl due to a COVID-19 diagnosis after debuting in the role in a spectacular fashion earlier in the month.
The former “Glee” star landed the titular role of Fanny Brice in the Broadway production after “Booksmart” star Beanie Feldstein left the part a few months ago. She was previously on a hiatus from the acting scene after she welcomed her son to businessman Zandy Reich.
Lea Michele Says It’s ‘Sad’ People Think She Can’t Read
In a chat with the New York Times earlier this month, Michele forcefully rebuked the ridiculous notion that she was illiterate. The actress made it clear that she thought the comments sprang from misogyny.
“I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day,” she told the publication. “And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”
Michele also told the New York Times, that she is not letting the rumors and other criticism get to her regardless of how far they have spread. She shared that she was focused on inhabiting her role as Fanny Brice and being a wife and mother.
Jameela Jamil Defended The Broadway Star
Amid the widespread rumors, another actress, Jamil, spoke out in support of Michele, saying it is “ableist” to make jokes about someone’s reading or writing skills.
“I see a lot of people claiming a certain actress can’t read… and then laughing at her. Whatever your issue with someone, and I don’t know this woman, or anything about her, but laughing at the idea of *anyone* not being able to read makes YOU look like a prick,” she wrote. “An elitist, ableist bore. It’s embarrassing for you, not them.”
Jamil also implored fans not to “let the debris of your bullets meant for some… hit those you weren’t aiming at. Some people can’t read because of disability, learning disabilities; some can’t because of a lack of access to education. Your words and actions also affect them.”
Lea Michele Will Return Soon
While she was away, Michele’s part was filled by her understudy Julie Benko. At the time of the actress’ unfortunate temporary setback, she revealed on Instagram that she had complete faith in her understudy to deliver in the role.
The actress also shared that she would be spending ten days in isolation and lamented the surge of Covid-19 infections had severely impacted the “Funny Girl” production.
She wrote, per The Blast, “Unfortunately, I have officially tested positive for COVID. In following production protocols, I cannot return to the theater for 10 days.”
“Thankfully, staying home and catching this early protected so many members of our company from being exposed. Funny Girl has been and still is tackling a tremendous wave of COVID with close to a dozen company members currently out.” she penned.