Sharing her story. Samantha Marie Ware may have only briefly appeared on Glee, but she made quite the impact years later. On June 1, the actress, 28, tweeted that star Lea Michele made her life “a living hell” on set and said she “would s–t in my wig.” Since then, former costars have spoken out with their own stories about experiences with Michele.
Now, Ware is explaining why she opened up about her experience after Michele, 33, tweeted her support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“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,” Ware told Variety on Thursday, June 11. “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.”
The What/If alum went on to explain that the former Broadway star reprimanded her and threatened her job in front of a group at one point.
“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 explained. “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.”
The Hamilton alum added that she refused to walk to the center of stage when Michele said, “You need to come here right now,” because she was already humiliated.
“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 claimed. “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.”
The God Friended Me actress noted that she “tried to speak up” for herself, but was shut down by the “Cannonball” singer. “She told me to shut my mouth. She said I don’t deserve to have that job. She talked about how she has reign. 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.”
A source tells Us Weekly that although the actresses were not close, their strained relationship “had nothing to do with the color of Samantha’s skin and Lea is not racist” at all.
“While Lea was filming her scene, Samantha was off-camera and acting in a distracting manner, so Lea was upset,” the insider adds. “When Lea is in work mode, she is extremely focused and serious and felt that Samantha’s actions were halting her from being able to do her job in the best way possible.”
Ware also claimed that her situation “didn’t seem like that big of a deal” to others on set. “I guess since it was such a common thing,” she explained. “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.”
The Nebraska native is hopeful that the tweet she sent will open a conversation for Michele.
“It shouldn’t have to take my tweet. When you tweet, ‘Black lives matter,’ that would mean you have an understanding of what that hashtag means, but it’s clear that it doesn’t,” she told Variety. “Does Lea even know what a microaggression is? I don’t know. All that her apology did was affirm that she hasn’t learned anything. Am I calling Lea a racist? No. Does Lea have racist tendencies? I think Lea suffers from a symptom of living in this world in an industry that is tailored to white people.”
The magazine also reports that Michele attempted to get in touch with Ware after her tweet, but Ware would not give her personal contact info. On June 3, Ware’s representative received an apology letter from Michele, the same day the former Scream Queens actress posted a lengthy public apology.
“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,” the Same Time, Next Christmas star posted at the time. “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. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. … I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused.”
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