Alex Newell Winning a Tony is Historic, and Everyone’s Talking About that Lea Michele ‘Snub’

On Sunday, former “Glee” star Alex Newell made history by becoming the first out nonbinary* actor to win a Tony

Alex Newell
Alex Newell - YouTube

On Sunday, former “Glee” star Alex Newell made history by becoming the first out nonbinary* actor to win a Tony Award.

But the record didn’t go unchallenged for long, because shortly after Newell’s history-making win, another out nonbinary actor was handed an award – J. Harrison Ghee.

It was a night of truly historic firsts, and an acknowledgement that the entertainment industry is making room for inclusion and affirmation.

Newell, an extraordinarily popular actor who can belt out songs like music was written for them, received an outpouring of love, support and enthusiasm from their win.

But amidst the jubilation and celebration, one detail did not go unnoticed by “Glee” fans – it was a total thumb in the eye of former co-star Lea Michele, who didn’t qualify for a nomination.

Since “Glee” has wrapped up 8 years ago, many castmates have opened up about Michele’s behavior while on set.

She has faced accusations of transphobia and racism, and was generally described as rude, entitled, and unpleasant to work with.

Newell, who is both LGBTQ and Black, likely had a front-row seat to the brunt of Michele’s alleged nasty behavior, and the fact that they’re over her drama seemed evident on Sunday when Newell’s name was called for the best featured actor in a musical.

The Independent writes, “Newell, who rose to fame on the reality spin-off series The Glee Project and played Wade ‘Unique’ Adams on Glee, defended Michele’s original accuser Samantha Marie Ware after she claimed that the actor made her life a ‘living hell’ on the Fox show.

Referencing Ware, Newell tweeted: ‘When my friend goes through something traumatic, I also go through it. That’s what friendship is and if you can’t understand that then you’re part of the problem. I mean that for both sides of this coin!’

Michele apologised at the time for her behaviour, suggesting that her ‘privileged position’ might have been why her co-stars thought she was acting ‘inappropriately’.”

While at the Tony Awards on Sunday, Michele was seated in front of Newell – so it would have been impossible to miss her.

Michele was applauding enthusiastically and seemed to try to say something to Newell.

But Newell floated on by, seeming to pointedly looking away when they passed their former co-star.

And fans had some thoughts about the move.

One wrote, “Something so poetic about Alex Newell winning a Tony in front of Lea Michele.”

Another added, “I don’t know but having Lea Michele perform ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ in the Tony Awards – the role Rachel Berry was obsessed with – while not being eligible for a nomination and having her Black Glee co-star Alex Newell win a Tony in front of her is… ironic.”

When they made it to stage, Newell had some humble thoughts about the experience.

The glowing actor told the enthusiastic audience, “Thank you for seeing me, Broadway. I should not be up here as a queer non-binary, fat, Black lil baby from Massachusetts.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lea Michele (@leamichele)

While we can’t say for sure that Newell intended to slight Michele, it certainly looked that way.

However, the “Glee” universe was thrown into chaos today when Michele posted a picture of herself and Newell smiling together for the camera at the Tonys.

Did they patch things up? Was it just a quick “snap and move on” kinda picture?

We have so many questions.