In her first social media post since being criticized by former Glee co-stars for her on-set behavior, pregnant Lea Michele showcased her belly bump.
On Friday, the actress, 33, who is expecting her first child with husband Zandy Reich, posted a photo to her Instagram Stories showing off her exposed belly during a hike in the mountains. She wore black leggings, a sports bra and a black face mask.
Michele announced her pregnancy back in May, but the news was quickly overshadowed by accusations that she had bullied her former co-stars, particularly Samantha Ware, who claimed that Michele made her life a "living hell." Ware spoke out when Michele tweeted support for the Black Lives Matter movement during protests over George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody.
“LMAO, remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?!" Ware tweeted. "I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would 's*** in my wig!' amongst other traumatic micro-aggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood."
Ware later told Variety in an exclusive interview that there was tension with Michele from the start. “I knew from day one when I attempted to introduce myself,” she reportedly said. “There was nothing gradual about it. As soon as she decided that she didn’t like me, it was very evident. 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.”
Following the tweet and social media outcry, Michele lost her partnership deal with Hello Fresh, a meal kit delivery service. “HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind,” the company tweeted. “We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele. We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately.”
Other former Glee co-stars cited troubling experiences working with Michele, who starred as Rachel Berry on the series for six seasons. Heather Morris, who played Brittany S. Pierce, tweeted that Michele “should be called out,” claiming she was “unpleasant to work with” yet noted that calling her a “racist” was only an assumption.
And Jeanté Godlock, who played a Glee extra, tweeted that Michele referred to people with smaller roles as “cockroaches.”
On June 3, Michele apologized on Instagram with a three-page 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," Michele wrote. “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.”
Michele said that she didn’t recall making negative remarks “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.”
Reflecting on her upcoming birth, Michele admitted that she should “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” adding, “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."
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