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Lea Michele blames “perfectionism” for alleged racism, transphobia & toxic behavior

Lea Michele
Lea MichelePhoto: Shutterstock

As former Glee actress Lea Michele prepares to take on the starring role in Broadway’s Funny Girl on Tuesday, she is also addressing past accusations of racism and transphobia.

Michele has long had a reputation of being a self-centered diva, and in 2020 people she worked with began making more serious allegations against her.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, she chalked up her behavior to merely having a strong work ethic.

“I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes,” she explained. “That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”

She then explained how she feels she has grown.

“I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader. It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.”

When Michele’s casting in Funny Girl was announced (after a drama-laden exit by Feldstein), one of Michele’s accusers, Glee costar Samantha Ware, tweeted, “Yes, im affected. Yes, I’m human. Yes, I’m Black. Yes, I was abused. Yes, my dreams were tainted. Yes, Broadway upholds whiteness. Yes, Hollywood does the same. Yes, silence is complicity. Yes, I’m loud. Yes, I’d do it again.”

In 2020, Ware called Michele out for tweeting that Black Lives Matter, writing, “I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would ‘shit in my wig!’ amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”

Ware wrote that working with Michele was “a living hell,” and soon other members of the Glee cast began speaking out in agreement.

Michele did release an apology at the time – though she claimed she did not remember “making this specific statement.”

That same year, trans model and actress Plastic Martyr accused Michele of humiliating her for being in a women’s restroom, tweeting that Michele is “a very unpleasant person” and that “Years ago we were at the Emmy’s and she happened to be there. I was still in the process of my transition and wasn’t 100% as ‘passable’ then. I was in the bathroom and started washing my hands and then said excuse me to her when trying to reach the soap and she goes ‘Excuse me?! EXCUSE ME???? Excuse you … you realize you’re in the WOMEN’S bathroom.’ I remember going from feeling so beautiful that day to walking out of that bathroom feeling so self-conscious and embarrassed.”

Michele’s casting in Funny Girl – a longtime dream of hers – has received mixed reactions, with many mocking her for the parallels to her character in Glee, who also dreamed of starring in the show.

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