Lea Michele, stung by an African American "Glee" castmate's accusations of vulgar behavior toward her, and subsequently dropped from a sponsorship contract, has apologized in a long social-media message.
"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," the singer-actress, 33, wrote Wednesday on Instagram, alluding to nationwide protests of police brutality against people of color.
"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," she continued, referring to her May 29 post expressing solidarity for those protesting Minneapolis man George Floyd's killing by police, "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."
"What/If" star Samantha Marie Ware, who had played Jane Hayward in 11 episodes of “Glee," responded Monday to Michele's tweet by accusing Michele of having put her through "a living hell.” She described a scatological threat and alleged "other traumatic microagressions that made me question a career in Hollywood." The meal-kit delivery service HelloFresh the following day dropped Michele as a spokeswoman, saying it "does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind."
"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 apology continued. Acknowledging "that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people," she went on to say, "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."
Michele, soon to welcome her first child with husband Alexander "Zandy" Reich, said the criticisms had made her want to be a better role model for her offspring. "I am learning," she concluded, "and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience."
Ware has not responded publicly to Michele's apology.