In the time since Lea Michele was called out on social media for her behavior on the set of Glee, initially by fellow cast member Samantha Ware, many of the two’s co-stars from the hit musical have released their own statements or commented in some way, shape or form. The latest to put his thoughts on record is Iqbal Theba.
The Pakistani-American actor, who played Principal Figgins, took to Twitter to answer those who have been asking him if he was mistreated by the star. While there, he also offered some thoughts on the dangers of branding people as a racist. You can read his full comments below…
Lots of people r assuming that @LeaMichele mistreated me. Let me state it clearly that I was never mistreated by her. And if some of the cast were treated badly then she has apologized for it which is wonderful. But being called a racist is too heavy & unfair a burden 4 most of us, specifically in these troubled times. So, please be compassionate, careful & responsible before we accuse anyone of this horrible thing called racism. I love each & everyone of my fellow cast members from our great show @OfficialGLEEtv. Be safe & be well. Much love
The conversation around Lea Michele’s on-set behavior actually started while the show was still airing. Michele had a troubled relationship with co-star Naya Rivera on set, and in the latter’s book, she accused her co-star of not wanting to share the spotlight. At the time, it was treated as a mini-scandal and more of a personality clash between two women, probably because there was tragedy and other terrible behavior going on. Over the last few days, it’s become clear that plenty of people had a problem with Michele on set.
Samantha Ware accused Michele of making her life “a living hell” and allegedly telling others she would shit in her wig. Glee co-star Heather Morris then came forward and said Michele was “unpleasant” to work with and said she continually disrespected others and deserved to be called out. Cast members Alex Newell and Melissa Benoist, amongst others, have also liked or responded with positive gifs to the critical comments, and others unrelated to Glee, including a fellow Spring Awakening cast member called her a “nightmare.”
The chatter after Ware's initial allegation was very critical of Michele, and while it hasn’t exactly gotten positive in the time since, others have defended her from the racism accusations many social media fans have jumped to. Amber Reilly addressed the issue in a conversation with Essence, saying she’s not going to call Michele a racist and thinks people have dragged her enough. The two reportedly spoke privately, and while it seems like they may have some of their own issues, she said she wishes Michele well, while also being proud of Ware for standing up for herself.
It’s unclear at this point whether we will continue to see more Glee cast members come forward. Michele has already released a statement apologizing for her on-set behavior. Given how quickly the news cycle tends to move on, this may be the last we hear of this, but even if that’s the case, it remains to be seen how much this may or may not affect the actress’ career long-term.