Lea Michele Says She ‘Doesn’t Remember’ Her Racist Statements Toward Black ‘Glee’ Costars

Lea Michele
Photo: Shutterstock.

Breaking her silence. Lea Michele responded to Samantha Marie Ware’s Glee claims in a statement on her Instagram on Wednesday, June 3. In her statement, Lea, who played Rachel Berry on all six seasons of the musical-comedy series, addressed Samantha’s claims that she threatened to “shit” in her “wig” on the set of Glee.

“One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face,” she wrote on Instagram. “When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbors and communities of color during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them.”

Lea’s statement comes after Samantha, who played Jane Hayward on season 6 of Glee, responded to a #BlackLivesMatter tweet by the Scream Queens alum. In her response, Samantha claimed that Lea made her time on Glee a “living hell” and accused her of racially charged statements. After Samantha’s tweet, many other Glee cast members and extras spoke out about how Lea treated them on set. Though no main cast members accused Lea of any personal harassment, Alex Newell, who played Unique Adams, and Amber Riley, who played Mercedes Jones, responded to Samantha’s original tweet with GIFs, suggesting that they agreed with her assessment of the series’ lead.

“LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISION GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU [sic] HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD ‘SHIT IN MY WIG!’ AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD,” Samantha tweeted on Tuesday, June 2, in response to Lea’s tweet about George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd dyed after the officer, Derek Chauvin, placed his knee on the man’s neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

In her statement, Lea stated that she doesn’t remember telling Samantha that she wants to “shit” in her “wig” and that she’s “never judged” anyone by their race. “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,” she wrote.

The actress continued, “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 am a couple of months from becoming a mother and I know I need to keep working to better myself and take responsibility for my actions, so that I can be a real role model for my child and so I can pass along my lessons and mistakes, so that they can learn from me. I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience.”

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