Former Glee star Samantha Marie Ware made waves on social media at the beginning of June when she revealed that actress Lea Michele treated her and other cast members and guest stars with a racist attitude. After Michele tweeted about Black Lives Matter movement and the death of George Floyd, Ware responded:
“LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD “SH-T IN MY WIG!” AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD…”
The incident immediately trended on Twitter, prompting a lengthy apology statement from Michele to People. In part, Michele says:
“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.”
“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.”
According to Ware, Michele threatened her job in front of a large crowd, but Ware never felt like filing a complaint about Michele’s behavior was an option.
“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 says that she hopes Michele has learned from the backlash and will earnestly try to do better.
“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.”
Is Michele’s apology genuine? Who knows. Hopefully she’ll continue to learn and Ware’s star will continue to rise.