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‘Glee’ Alum Amber Riley: Lea Michele Would ‘Probably Say She Doesn’t See Race’

Riley reflected on working with the "Funny Girl" actress on the FOX series amid allegations that Michele was a racially insensitive bully on set.

Amber Riley, Lea Michele

Amber Riley, Lea Michele

Getty

Amber Riley is speaking out on former “Glee” co-star Lea Michele once more.

Two years after allegations that Michele was racially insensitive on the set of the Fox musical series and bullied her co-stars, Riley is clarifying her past comments on the “Funny Girl” actress.

Talk show host Ziwe asked Riley on her eponymous show, “Would you say that your famous coworker doesn’t see race and is in fact rude to all of her coworkers?”

Riley replied, “I think that she would probably say she doesn’t see race. But as we discussed earlier, everyone does.”

Samantha Marie Ware, a fellow Black actress, accused Michele of making the set a “living hell” when she had a supporting role on the series in a since-deleted tweet. Ware told Variety that Michele threatened to get her fired and she was “abused” on set. Ware also earlier tweeted amid Michele’s casting in “Funny Girl” that “Broadway upholds whiteness [and] yes, Hollywood does the same.”

Series regular Heather Morris also confirmed that Michele was “unpleasant” to work with.

Riley previously said during an Instagram Live interview in 2020 that Michele is not a “racist.”

“I’m not going to say that Lea Michele is racist. That’s not what I’m saying,” Riley said. “That was the assumption because of what’s going on right now in the world and it happened toward a Black person. I’m not going to say that she’s racist.”

Riley added, “That [statement Michele] put out, I didn’t read it because I told y’all I don’t give a shit about it. … She reached out to me, I responded to her and that’s where it ends for me. I ain’t talk to that girl in two years.”

Riley continued, “But at the same time, in my inbox there are a lot of Black actors and actresses telling me their stories and were letting me know they have dealt with the same things being on set, being terrorized by the white girls that are the leads of the show. We were even told, we were expendable; the colored girls, the Black girls are expendable. I’m talking about the culture of Hollywood right now and how they treat Black characters, Black men, Black women. I’m talking about the culture.”

Michele issued a statement at the time saying that she has taken 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 continued, “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. 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. We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings.”

“The Price of Glee” docuseries examines what really happened behind the scenes of the Fox series. It premieres January 16 on ID.

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