“Glee” actress Samantha Marie Ware says her co-star Lea Michele used to abuse her power while working on the show, and one time threatened to have her fired.
Earlier this month, Ware called Michele out for making the experience of working on the show a “living hell” for her due to “traumatic microaggressions”. It was after Michele tweeted about the killing of George Floyd, and supported Black Lives Matter movement.
She left New York for her first-ever TV gig on “Glee” in 2015. Ware was 23 when she first stepped onto the set of “Glee”. She joined the hit series in its final year.
“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,” variety.com quoted Ware as saying.
“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,” she added.
According to Ware, on one occasion, Michele threatened her job in front of a large crowd of extras, dancers and the cast. The actress said that she never officially reported the alleged behaviour as she didn’t know that “filing a complaint was an option”.
“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. 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 said.
Ware recalled that during a large scene shot in an auditorium, Michele threatened she would get Ware fired.
She said: “When you’re shooting a scene, sometimes the camera is on you and sometimes it’s not, but you still have to be in the scene. The camera wasn’t on us, so it’s not like we had to give a full-throttle performance, but apparently, 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. Michele demanded, ‘You need to come here right now’,” said Ware, adding: “I said ‘no’ and that’s when she decided to threaten my job and said she would call Ryan Murphy in to come and fire me.”
Ware believes that Murphy wasn’t aware of the incident, and feels that Michele was using his name as a threat and scare-tactic.
After Michele threatened Ware’s job, she got terrified.
“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,” she said.
After the incident, Ware says she went in to talk to Michele to sort out things.
“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 reigned. 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,” she added.