While I was never a big fan of "Glee," it was popular enough for me to know all about it. I knew they sang some of the most iconic songs, and they sang with Broadway-level voices. I knew they had a diverse cast and handled hard-hitting topics about society. I also knew, like any show with a cast of young adults, there were feuds and drama. It was like "High School Musical" as a television show but a lot more mature.
Here's what I didn't know about "Glee": Lea Michele, who played the seemingly sweet lead character Rachel Berry, was actually living her real life Regina George-style.
After all these years, though, how are we just now finding out about Lea's distasteful behavior on the set of "Glee"? Well, after Lea posted to Twitter to honor the memory of George Floyd at the end of last week, Lea's former co-star Samantha Ware used the moment to shame Lea's hypocrisy and bring to light her transgressions. This inevitably led to countless other cast members sharing their stories, too.
George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter— Lea Michele (@Lea Michele)1590782801.0
On Monday, Samantha replied to Lea's tweet, calling Lea out on her "traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood" and caused her first television gig to become a living nightmare.
When I first heard this news, it honestly broke my heart. Whenever someone starts at a new school, a new job, in a new extracurricular activity - they want to feel accepted, they want to have fun. Everyone fears not being accepted, especially by the stereotypical "mean girl" that Regina George shaped into our minds years ago. Because if the mean girl doesn't like you, will anyone?
While I shared these fears going into high school and college, I realized Regina George was a figment of Hollywood. While I encountered my fair share of attention-seeking, rude girls and guys throughout my life, there didn't seem to be one single girl with all the popularity who controlled everyone else's opinions of you. Well, these accusations towards Lea definitely proved that idea wrong.
The idea of a mean girl is alive and well, and Lea Michele embodied her while on the set of "Glee."
Other co-stars began to reveal their uncomfortable encounters with Lea' disrespect on Twitter, including Heather Morris, Diaber, and Jeanté Godlock.
Heather Morris described her experience with Lea as "unpleasant" and said Lea was disrespectful to others. A guest-star on the show, Diaber, said Lea told him he couldn't sit at the cast table because he didn't "belong there," despite Darren Criss insisting otherwise. And Jeanté claimed Lea used to call the background cast "cockroaches." All in all, it seems Lea formed a reputation for being the unkind Queen Bee of the cast, and she ruled over her kingdom with an iron fist that caused her co-stars' lives to be nightmarish.
But I'm not perfect, and I recognize that no one is perfect. People grow, mature, and change. And I wanted to believe that Lea could make amends with her former co-stars, too.
But apparently, this is her first apology to her castmates after all these years. It has taken years and required her behavior to be called out on social media, to elicit an apology. And the apology was a case of "bad memory." Lea apologized for her on-set behavior, in which it's important to remember she was a grown adult (not a teenager, despite the fact she played one). HOWEVER, she claimed to not remember these comments and behaviors, but she was sorry regardless. She practically claimed it was other's "perception" of her and not truly her.
It takes a lot to apologize, especially for past mistakes after being publicly called out, and I commend Lea for that. But why did it take her so long to apologize and realize her actions, and only because people were disappointed with her online? And why did she claim to not remember years of disrespectful behavior towards numerous people?
I'm glad she made the effort to apologize, but it definitely could have been more genuine because the fact is, all those years ago, Lea had the choice of being a supportive and encouraging role model as the lead star of the show. Instead, she became the stereotypical mean girl who caused newcomers' worst fears to come true.
Read Lea's Full Apology Below: