Lea Michele has apologized for “any pain” she may have caused her fellow Glee cast-mates in the wake of the extraordinary “wig-shitting” allegations made by Samantha Marie Ware, but has denied being racist.
Her comments, in an emotional Instagram post, came after she was dropped by the meal prep brand HelloFresh which appeared to accuse her of racism.
In her statement issued today, Michele said of the claim that she joked about defecating in Ware’s wig: “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,” adding, “I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience.”
On May 29, the former Glee star was called out for hypocrisy after posting a seemingly well-meaning tweet in support of George Floyd. Black actors responded with instances of mistreatment from the actress.
Michele’s reputation collapsed after her tweet (which, for the record, read: “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesmatter”) quickly became a lightning rod for several of her black former co-workers on Glee to express their negative experiences of working with Michele in colorful terms.
Samantha Marie Ware (who appeared on the show’s sixth season as student singer Jane Hayward) specifically alleged that Michele told their co-workers that, if she had the opportunity, she would “shit in her wig.”
Ware’s post caught fire and triggered other Glee alums to come forward to allege unpleasant behavior on Michele’s part toward castmates.
Alex Newell, Amber Riley, and Dabier Snell, who all also had parts in Glee, reacted to the tweet in support of Samantha and have now been joined by Supergirl star Melissa Benoist, who appeared on Glee with Michele, and who liked a series of posts describing the star’s behavior.
The pregnant actress’ career and reputation is in tatters, she has been flamed on social media, and—proving there is nothing so unpopular as unpopularity—been unfollowed by her former friend and queen of the teen internet, Ariana Grande.
HelloFresh, which has been partnering with Michele to promote its recipe-component delivery service, dropped the actress Tuesday night in an extraordinary tweet that effectively accused her of racism.
The site appeared to double down on their position Wednesday morning, posting and pinning a tweet that, while not explicitly mentioning Michele by name, seemed to reference the controversy.
Perhaps inevitably, HelloFresh now appears to be suffering a backlash of its own, with numerous tweets criticizing the company for what they said was a knee-jerk response.
Arguably even greater social opprobrium was to come when Ariana Grande, Michele’s most influential social-media friend (they worked together on the Fox series Scream Queens, about a fictional sorority) picked a side and dumped her, unfollowing her on Instagram.
Michele, who is expecting a child later this year with her husband, businessman Zandy Reich, 37, played the role of Rachel Berry on the show’s six seasons, getting nominated for an Emmy and two Golden Globe awards with the part.
Her former boyfriend and co-star Cory Monteith was found dead of a suspected drug overdose in 2017.