Almost one year after Lea Michele came under fire from many of her costars for the way she treated them, Heather Morris has opened up about being “bullied” by the actress on the set of Glee. She also explained why she and the other stars of the Fox series didn’t report Michele’s behavior to anyone, and her comments are pretty shocking.
What Did Heather Morris Say About It?
For those who forgot, back in June, many of the cast members of the show took to social media to slam Michele’s behavior on set, after Samantha Marie Ware claimed that she made her life “a living Hell.” At the time, Morris also spoke up and admitted that Michele was “very unpleasant to work with” and that she “should be called out,” but added that they were also to blame for letting it go on for so long. Now, during a new interview, she elaborated on her statement.
“I remember getting so much shade because people were like, ‘This is so f**king cryptic,’ like, ‘Why don’t you just go and say it?'” she explained. “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, which people were saying. 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.”
The blonde beauty continued, “Now you see all these things coming out with these bigger names who were very disrespectful and mistreated a lot of people, and people allowed it to happen. We absolutely could have stepped up and gone to the Fox execs and said how we felt about the situation, and nobody really did. And so now we are living in a culture where it’s acceptable to go do things like that, whereas 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.”
When asked about a specific incident of bad behavior by Michele, Morris explained that it was more of an “elephant in the room.”
“I think it was the elephant in the room,” she said. “We all got close with Lea at certain points, and then we all weren’t as close with her. 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. And taking care of herself after Corey [Monteith] passed. You know, it was just the elephant in the room.”
Finally, she said that she had not heard from Michele since the controversy, but that she wishes her “the best of luck” since she has a “little one at home.” As fans know, the 34-year-old recently welcomed her first child — a baby boy named Ever Leo — with her husband, Zandy Reich.
What Have The Other Cast Members Said About Lea Michele?
The drama all started after Michele posted a tribute to George Floyd amid the Black Lives Matter movement last year.
“Remember when you my first television gig a living Hell?!?! ‘Cause I’ll never forget,” Ware fired back at the time. “I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would ‘s**t in my wig’ amongst other traumatic microagressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”
She later opened up about some of the bad things Michele did to her during an interview with Variety.
“I knew from day one when I attempted to introduce myself. There was nothing gradual about it. As soon as she decided that she didn’t like me, it was very evident,” she said, when the outlet asked her when she first figured out that Michele didn’t like her. “It was after I did my first performance, that’s when it started — the silent treatment, the stare-downs, the looks, the comments under her breath, the weird passive aggressiveness. It all built up.”
“Lea’s actions were nothing new, so I guess since it was such a common thing, my case didn’t seem like that big of a deal,” she continued. “I remember the first day I actually spoke up and unfortunately no one did anything. They just shrugged it off, like, ‘That’s her.’ No one was stopping these things, which is an issue because the environment was helping perpetuate this abuse.”
She even claimed that Michele threatened to get her fired from the show at one point.
“I was goofing around when the camera wasn’t on me, and she took that as me being disrespectful to her. She waited until the scene was over and she stopped in the middle of the stage and did a ‘come here’ gesture, like how a mother does to their child,” she recalled. “I said ‘no,’ and that’s when she decided to threaten my job, and said she would call [creator] Ryan Murphy in to come and fire me. It’s scary. For the full week, I was thinking I’m probably going to get an email and I might not be able to do the last three episodes, or I might not be able to sing another song. When I tried to speak up for myself, she told me to shut my mouth. She said I don’t deserve to have that job. She talked about how she has reign. And here’s the thing: I completely understood that, and I was ready to be like, ‘This is your show. I’m not here to be disrespectful.’ But at that point, we were already past the respect and she was just abusing her power.”
After that, others started to get involved. Get this — Imia Edwards, who worked on the show in 2012, even told The Sun that she heard “multiple” people say that Michele called the extras “cockroaches” behind-the-scenes.
“I’ve never really seen anyone treat extras like that, to that level of, ‘Ugh, don’t look at me, don’t make eye contact, ugh cockroaches, there they are.’ Dude, we’re still coworkers, we’re still people, all trying to get this episode done as a group,” she revealed. “I think I was even on a different show and someone was like, ‘Oh, you know Lea’s a b***h, right? She calls the extras cockroaches.”
She also claimed that the Scream Queens star burped in her face and stepped on her foot and didn’t apologize.
“During one of the takes she walked really close to me and made this loud burp almost right in my face as she was passing by,” she said. “She didn’t say ‘Excuse me’ or even acknowledge my presence. No eye contact, nothing. The other extras saw and a crew member as well. He reacted, ‘Wow, so sorry she did that.’”
Jordan Pruitt also tweeted at the time, “Everyone in Hollywood KNOWS that Lea Michele is a horrible human being,” the former Disney Channel star wrote on Twitter. “She is a b***h to everyone. We all know it… Yawn. Moving on…”
How Did Lea Michele Respond?
After everything went down, Michele took to Instagram to apologize.
“One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face,” she wrote on Instagram. “When I tweeted the other day, it was meant to be a show of support for our friends and neighbors and communities of color during this really difficult time, but the responses I received to what I posted have made me also focus specifically on how my own behavior 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 color of their skin, that’s not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people.”
“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 apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” Michele added. “We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings. I am a couple of months from becoming a mother and I know I need to keep working to better myself and take responsibility for my actions, so that I can be a real role model for my child and so I can pass along my lessons and mistakes, so that they can learn from me. I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience.”