Fumudoh then played a clip from the 2020 Instagram Live where Riley said, “I am not going to say that Lea Michele is racist.” Riley grinned before quipping, “You’re trouble.”
The Ziwe host followed up by asking: “Would you say that your famous coworker doesn’t see race and is in fact rude to all of her coworkers?”
‘Glee’ Cast: Where Are They Now?
Without naming names, Riley replied, “I think that she would probably say she doesn’t see race, but as we discussed earlier, everyone does.”
In June 2020, former Glee star Samantha Ware claimed in a viral Twitter thread that Michele made her time on the show a “living hell” after the Scream Queens alum spoke out about the Black Lives Matter movement. “I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU [sic] HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD ‘S–T IN MY WIG!’ AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD,” the All Rise star, 31, alleged at the time.
Days later, Michele apologized for past “insensitive” behavior but claimed she didn’t remember the wig comment. “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,” the Broadway actress wrote via Instagram at the time. “We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings. … I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience.”
‘Glee’ Stars Weigh In on Samantha Ware’s Lea Michele Claims
Riley, for her part, addressed the controversy during an Instagram Live interview with Danielle Young. “I don’t give a s–t about this Lea Michele thing,” the Wiz Live! star said in June 2020. “I really don’t give a f–k. I don’t. I don’t want to be asked about it — and I’m not talking to you, I’m talking about everyone else. … People are out here dying. Being murdered by police. Trans women are being murdered at the hands of men.”
She later said she wouldn’t use the term “racist” to describe her former coworker. “I’m not going to say that Lea Michele is racist. That’s not what I’m saying,” Riley explained. “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.”
The Grammy nominee also noted that she didn’t read Michele’s apology and actually hadn’t spoken to her much since Glee ended. “She reached out to me, I responded to her. That’s where it ends for me,” Riley said. “I ain’t talked to that girl in two years. I have no hatred or ill will on that end. … This is the first and last time I’m gonna say something.”
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