Almost a year ago, Glee star Lea Michele was publicly cancelled online after a string of her co-stars came forward with stories of abuse that ranged from racism to belittling, mocking, and taunting. Now, one of the hit show’s other main characters, Heather Morris, has addressed the bullying allegations, and why no one came forward sooner about Michele’s behaviour.
While appearing on Danny Pellegrino’s Everything Iconic podcast, Morris said that cast members of Glee were “scared” to report Michele’s “bullying” to the show’s executives, saying, “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,” she said. “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.”
Following the allegations last year, Morris, who played Brittany S. Pierce on the musical dramedy, added her voice to back up others who were accusing Michele of bad workplace behaviour, admitting Michele was “unpleasant to work with.” She says she copped a lot of “shade” for speaking out.
“People were like, ‘This is so fucking cryptic,’ like, ‘Why don’t you just go and say it?’” she told Pellegrino. “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…”
“But it also is very true, and the only person who was honest about it was Naya [Rivera],” Morris continued. “And it was something that was very hush-hush on set.”
Morris added her co-stars each grew close with Michele during filming, but eventually fell out with her for a variety of reasons. “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,” Morris shared. “And, you know, taking care of herself after Cory [Monteith] passed. You know, it was just the elephant in the room.”
The allegations against Michele, who played main character Rachel Berry on Glee, first surfaced in early June 2020. Samantha Marie Ware, who played season six recurring character Jane Hayward, spoke out against Michele on Twitter after she expressed outrage about the killing of George Floyd by a police officer and used the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
“LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON [sic] GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET,” Ware tweeted in response. “I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD ‘S–T IN MY WIG!’ AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS [sic] THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD…”
After Ware’s tweet went viral, other Glee came forward with their stories about the actress, including Morris, who wrote on Twitter, “Let me be very clear, Hate is a disease in America that we are trying to cure, so I would never wish for that hate to be spread to anyone else. With that said, was she unpleasant to work with? Very much so; for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out.”
Morris continued, “And yet, it’s also on us because to allow it to go on for so long without speaking out is something else we’re learning along with the rest of society. But, at the current moment its implied that she is a racist and although I cannot comment on her beliefs, I think we’re assuming, and you know what happens when we all assume…”