In the days since we learned of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of four Minneapolis officers, people have been lending their voices to speak against the injustice of Black bodies being murdered at the hands of the state.
In addition to the Black people who usually speak out about these human rights issues, this time corporations and White celebrities have also lent their voices to the cause. But not all of them are speaking out in sincere solidarity but rather to follow a popular trend and be perceived as a company who cares.
We saw it yesterday when beauty brand L’Oréal Paris shared a post about the importance of speaking out against racism. And model Munroe Bergdorf had to remind them that they fired her for doing just that.
But it’s not just corporations who are being called out for their disrespect of Black people in the past. Individuals are catching the heat as well.
Recently, singer and actress Lea Michele. Michele, best known for her role in “Glee,” tweeted this last Friday.
In response, one of her Black costars, Samantha Marie Ware, who, according to The Daily Beast, appeared on the sixth season of the hit show as fellow singer Jane Hayward, shared an encounter with Michele that didn’t seem to suggest she truly believed Black Lives Matter.
In all caps, Ware wrote,
“LMAO remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause Ill never forget. 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…”
It was a damning accusation. Sadly, it wasn’t the only one. Alex Newell, Amber Riley and Dabier Snell also shared their negative experiences with Michele.
Snell, who appeared in a 2014 episode of “Glee,” tweeted (in all caps), “Girl you wouldn’t let me sit at the table with the other cast members cuase ‘I didn’t belong there.’ F*ck you Lea.”
In her book, Sorry, Not Sorry, Naya Rivera, who is of Puerto Rican, African and German descent, also wrote about the toxic relationship she shared with Michele.
“One of the Glee writers once said that Lea and I were like two sides of the same battery and that about sums us up. If I’d complained about anyone or anything, she’d assumed I was bitching about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn’t say a word to me for all of Season Six.”
Alex Newell and Amber Riley responded with very telling gifs.
Update: Since her costars have come forward, Lea Michele issued an apology. You can read it below.
“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 says.
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,” Michele’s statement continues. “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 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,” she concludes. “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.”