In the last year, Lea Michele has faced the wrath of global ridicule after accusations of bullying behaviour and racism were made against her by former Glee co-stars. And now, one of Michele’s most high-profile colleagues has publicly spoken out about what went down.
Appearing on Danny Pellegrino’s Everything Iconic podcast, Heather Morris claimed that the rest of the Glee cast members were too “scared” to report Michele’s alleged “bullying” to executives, which explains why the public has been none the wiser about the on-set incidents until recently.
“We absolutely could have stepped up and gone to the FOX execs and said how we felt about the situation, and nobody really did,” she admitted.
“I think many people were very scared,” Morris continued. “I know, genuinely, I didn’t feel like it was my place. And I don’t know why, because I was a cast member just like everybody else, and we all deserve to feel comfortable on a set.”
After the allegations against Michele and her behaviour during filming, Morris—who played Brittany S. Pierce on the show—opened up about her take on the events, revealing that Michele was “unpleasant to work with,” and added that she’s had to deal with “shade” for her reaction, or lack thereof.
“People were like, ‘This is so f**king cryptic,’ like, ‘Why don’t you just go and say it?’” she said. “I’m like, ‘Guys, she’s pregnant, and all this stuff is going around, and… it’s true’—and I don’t know if maybe we were victims of bullying and that’s a typical victim thing to do is to blame yourself…”
She continued: “But it also is very true, and the only person who was honest about it was Naya [Rivera], and it was something that was very hush-hush on set.”
Morris also explained that their Glee co-stars grew close to Michele throughout filming, however, each eventually grew apart from her at different times.
“And so there’s a human element to it to understanding who this person is, growing with that person, seeing her try to become better,” Morris explained. “And, you know, taking care of herself after Cory [Monteith] passed. You know, it was just the elephant in the room.”
In May 2020, Michele originally fell under fire after she posted on Twitter regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement and the murder of George Floyd, writing: “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Samantha Ware, who played Jane Hayward in the sixth season of Glee, then took to the platform to call out Michele, publicly recalling the times when the pair clashed during filming, even claiming that she made her life “a living hell”.
She continued: “When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbours and communities of colour during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behaviour towards fellow cast members was perceived by them,”
“While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or colour of their skin, that’s not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people.”