If you’ve seen Glee, you’d know the show is usually optimistic, lively, and full of energy. But things aren’t always as cheerful as they appear to be on screen.

Actress Lea Michele took to Instagram on Wednesday (June 3) to apologise to fans and fellow cast members of Glee after her co-star, African American actress Samantha Ware, 28, spoke out about Michele’s behaviour on the set of the hit musical television show.

Early this week, Michele had taken to Twitter to support the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

The movement was in response to the death of Mr George Floyd, an African American man who was killed in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin used his knee to pin him to the ground while conducting an arrest.

In her tweet, Michele said: “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter.”

Responding, Ware – who appeared on Glee as recurring character Jane Hayward in the sixth season – alleged that Michele had committed racial microaggressions against her and made her experience on the set of the TV series “a living hell”, which she would never forget.

The treatment from Michele also prompted her to question a career in Hollywood.

The Glee role was one of Ware’s first experiences in Hollywood, before the actress went on to star in shows, including What/If on Netflix.

Other Glee co-stars, including Amber Riley and Jeante Godlock, weighed in on Ware’s comment and expressed their support. Heather Morris, another actress on the show, said Michele was unpleasant to work with.

Responding to the accusations, Michele posted a note on Instagram on Wednesday and said: “One of the most important lessons in the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives.”

She added: “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 apologise for my behaviour and for any pain which I have caused.”

Michele, 33, who is expecting her first child with husband Zandy Reich, said she was looking forward to motherhood and becoming a real role model for her child, who could learn from her lessons and mistakes.

Glee, which revolved around a fictional high school club and its members, ran over six years and won several awards, including a Golden Globe for best television series – musical or comedy, in 2010.

Michele played Rachel Berry, who was the show’s female lead and star singer during its run.

Text: The Straits Times / June 2020
Additional text: Sally Manik
Featured images: TPG/Click Photos