On a recent episode of Danny Pellegrino’s Everything Iconic podcast, former Glee star Heather Morris claimed that while the cast should have “stepped up” at the time when witness to Lea Michele’s behavior on set, “many people were very scared.
Here’s what Morris had to say, per Page Six:
“We absolutely could have stepped up and gone to the Fox execs and said how we felt about the situation, and nobody really did. [...] I think many people were very scared. 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.”
In the summer of 2020, Michele lost a flurry of brand deals after former co-star Samantha Marie Ware tweeted:
“LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD “SHIT IN MY WIG!” AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD.”
Afterward, a drove of other cast members came forward or hinted at similar experiences with Michele, like Dabier Snell, who said that he and other extras weren’t allowed to sit at a table with Michele because “I didn’t belong there.” Previously, a “feud” with Naya Rivera was also hinted at repeatedly in the press. In Rivera’s searing 2016 memoir, Sorry Not Sorry, she wrote:
“As Santana moved from a background character to one with bigger plot lines and more screen time. I think Rachel – erm, I mean Lea – didn’t like sharing the spotlight. If I’d complained about anyone or anything, she’d assumed I was bitching about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn’t say a word to me for all of season six.”
On Pellegrino’s podcast, Morris also extrapolated on comments she made in 2020 about Michele, in which she described her as “unpleasant to work with. She told the host, “People were like, this is so fucking cryptic, why don’t you just go and say it? 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. Sadly, she added that Rivera, who died in a boating accident on Lake Piru in 2020, was “the only person who was honest about it.” Michele later apologized for the comments, although she said she didn’t “remember ever making” them. After cast members like Ware and Snell came forward with stories about their experiences with her, she also lost brand deals like a partnership with HelloFresh.
Mostly, though, I’m sad that there is finally vindication at last for Naya Rivera, who was dogged by the gossip press throughout her career for her supposed “feud” with Michele. It sucks she isn’t here to feel that vindication herself.