Lea Michele says she personally reached out to Glee cast after bullying accusations: ‘It was very eye-opening’

Lea Michele has reflected on allegations she created a toxic workplace environment on the set of Glee.

In 2020, Michele – who played Rachel Berry in Ryan Murphy’s musical comedy series – was accused of making her co-star Samantha Ware’s time on the show a “living hell”. Ware said she was on the receiving end of “traumatic microagressions” from the actor, who allegedly once threatened to “s*** in my wig” in front of her castmates, causing Ware to question a future career in the industry.

This led to a number of other cast members speaking out about Michele’s behaviour on set, for which she later apologised and noted how she wanted to “keep working to better [herself] and take responsibility for [her] actions”.

Speaking to playwright Jeremy O Harris for Interview magazine, Michele was asked whether she had turned back to a career on the stage to “rectify” the way she behaved on set. Michele is currently starring in Funny Girl on Broadway.

“I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect,” she said. “I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back.”

Michele continued: “At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel. And you have to put aside your feelings. The conversations that I’ve had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me.

“I’ve been doing this for a really long time and I’m not going to ever blame anything on the things that I’ve been through in my life. But you also can’t ignore those experiences or deny them. They are a part of the patchwork of my life.”

Michele (far left) with the cast of ‘Glee’ in 2009 (Getty Images for Fox)
Michele (far left) with the cast of ‘Glee’ in 2009 (Getty Images for Fox)

She added that she’d taken on the role in Funny Girl not only for her career, but as an “opportunity to introduce people to who I am now”.

Michele can currently be seen as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, having taken over the role from Beanie Feldstein. On Glee, Rachel always dreamed of starring in the musical, with Michele performing a number of songs from the production on the show.

Following the news that Michele had been cast in the stage production, Ware tweeted that “Broadway upholds whiteness”.

In October, her former Glee co-star Chris Colfer said that he wouldn’t be going to see Michele as Fanny on Broadway.

“No, I can be triggered at home,” he said.