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Amid Accusations, Lea Michele Apologizes for Racist Behavior

The meal-kit company HelloFresh also responded quickly, terminating its relationship with Michele.
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June 3, 2020
Lea Michele attends the 2019 Pre-Emmy Party hosted by Entertainment Weekly and L’Oreal Paris at Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles on Friday, September 20, 2019. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)

In the wake of allegations by African-American former castmates about her behavior towards them on the set of “Glee,” Lea Michele has issued an apology via Instagram. The allegations were in response to a May 29 Twitter post in support of Black Lives Matter in which Michele wrote, “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end.”

That prompted a response from former co-star Samantha Ware. “Remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause I’ll never forget,” Ware tweeted. “I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would ‘sh-t in my wig!’ amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”

Other “Glee” castmates backed up Ware’s claims including Amber Riley, Alex Newell, and guest star Dabier, who wrote,” “Girl, you wouldn’t let me sit at the table with the other cast members cause ‘I didn’t belong there. F-k you Lea.” The meal-kit company HelloFresh also responded quickly, terminating its relationship with Michele.

“HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind. We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele,” the company posted on Twitter. “We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately.”

The actress posted a lengthy Instagram response on June 2.

“I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” Michele wrote in her Instagram post. “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. 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 pacifically on how my own behavior towards fellow cast members was perceived by them.

“While I don’t remember ever making the specific statements 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 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 being 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 they can learn for me. I listen to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience.”

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