“I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” Michele posted in a lengthy statement on Instagram. “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.”
Michele posted a tweet on May 29 in support of the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.
“George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter,” Michele tweeted.
In response to her tweet, Ware posted that when she worked on the show, Michele made microaggressions that traumatized her and made the job a “living hell.”
“Remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause I’ll never forget,” Ware tweeted in all caps. “I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would ‘s— in my wig!’ amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”
In her apology on Wednesday, Michele responded, “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.”
She continued, “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. We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect my own shortcomings.”
Michele, who is pregnant, said she hopes to set a better example for her child.
“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.”
Fallout was swift following Ware’s claims. HelloFresh terminating their partnership with Michelle, citing the company’s zero tolerance policy towards “racism nor discrimination of any kind.” The meal-kit brand said their relationship with Michele had ended immediately, stating, “We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele.”
Numerous former “Glee” actors sounded off on Twitter, sharing their personal stories of negative experiences on-set with Michele, seemingly establishing a pattern of the behavior that was called out by Ware.
One of “Glee’s” core stars, Amber Riley, posted a GIF of her sipping tea, signaling that she appears to agree with Ware. Alex Newell, who was on the show for four seasons, was also very vocal on social media, tweeting numerous times, including, “We ain’t got not a damn thing to lie about 6 years later!”
Melissa Benoist, who joined “Glee” in Season 4 and went on to star in “Supergirl,” liked the posts made by Ware, Riley, and Newell.
“Community” actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who co-starred with Michele on ABC’s “The Mayor” in 2017, also weighed in on the controversy. “I felt every one of those capital letters,” Brown responded to Ware’s tweet. “Every person on a set matters. Every person on a set deserves respect. And it is the responsibility of every series regular to make every person who visits their home feel welcome. This dismissive attitude is what’s wrong in Hollywood and the world.”
“Glee” was Ware’s first TV role ever. She had a guest recurring role on the sixth season of “Glee,” playing Jane Hayward, appearing in 11 episodes in 2015. Michele was the top star of the show, garnering two Golden Globe nominations and one Emmy nomination for her role as Rachel Berry.