Samantha Marie Ware on being bullied by Lea Michele: She was just abusing her power

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Samantha Ware, 28, is the first person to speak out against Lea Michele after Lea tweeted a Black Lives Matter message. She tweeted about Lea’s abuse of her during her guest role on Glee, when Lea threatened to sh*t in Samantha’s wig. So many of Lea’s costars on multiple projects spoke out after that to say she was an awful person. Lea’s “apology” for her terrible behavior was laughably bad, and included the word “perceived” so many times, as if people’s interpretation of her was wrong, not her behavior. Samantha talked to Variety to describe the way that Lea targeted and bullied her. It sounds awful, and everyone Samantha talked to about it on the Glee set at the time said there was nothing they could do, and that’s how it had always been.

After she had completed filming her first musical number, “Tightrope” by Janelle Monáe, for her first episode in the series, Ware says she felt sidelined by the show’s lead, Lea Michele.

“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 tells Variety in an exclusive interview. “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.”

“Lea’s actions were nothing new, so I guess since it was such a common thing, my case didn’t seem like that big of a deal,” Ware says. “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.”

“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,” Ware says. “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.”

Ware says no one voiced any concern with her, not even the director of the episode, so she was shocked when Michele called her out and reprimanded her.

“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,” Ware explains.

Michele demanded, “You need to come here right now,” according to Ware, who says she politely refused to walk to the center of the stage because she was already publicly humiliated in front of a crowd of extras and dancers. “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 has no reason to believe that Murphy would have even been made aware of the incident, and states that Michele was likely using his name as a threat and scare-tactic. According to sources close to production, by the time “Glee” had reached the sixth and final season, Murphy was not running the series and had no active involvement in the show. Representatives for Murphy and 20th Century Fox Television, which produced “Glee,” declined to comment…

Whenever Ware confided in her colleagues and peers, she says they shared that they didn’t feel comfortable to speak up against the star.

“Everyone minded their business or said, ‘I’m sorry, I wish I had the power to stop this, but this is just the way it is, and this is just how it’s been’ – which means I wasn’t the first person to have been in that situation,” Ware says.

[From Variety]

That gives me flashbacks to grade school and to getting bullied. This is the type of situation that leads people to go into different lines of work, and it sounds like that’s what Lea’s intention was. “How dare you not kowtow to me constantly! I will get you fired.” The fact that no one helped Samantha or stood up for her speaks volumes about the kind of environment on Ryan Murphy’s sets. Also notice that they declined comment to Variety. They easily could have denounced Lea’s behavior or said that they stand against racism and favoritism, but they did not.

Variety mentions that Ryan Murphy wasn’t directly involved with production, but he surely knew that Lea was like this. As we covered on the last podcast, #54 (that starts with the segment from our Zoom meeting and it’s at minute 22:45), Ryan Murphy and the Glee producers are complicit by letting Lea act that way and do whatever she wanted. Plus Murphy consistently hires Emma Roberts, and she has a similar reputation to Lea.

Whether Lea is overtly racist or not, she benefits from and abuses a system of white supremacy to target people lower than her, and to target Black women. She uses racist microaggressions to keep herself in power. That is a key aspect of racism, which Variety mentioned. I really hope that Lea doesn’t get much of a chance after this. She’s shown over and over the kind of person she is and she doesn’t deserve a platform.

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13 Responses to “Samantha Marie Ware on being bullied by Lea Michele: She was just abusing her power”

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  1. lucy2 says:

    Can you imagine being the “star” of a hit show, and still being so insecure, jealous, and hateful that you treat others that way? Awful.
    That top photo of Samantha is STUNNING. I hope her career continues to flourish.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      That’s really the heart of it, isn’t it? There’s always someone much prettier, more talented and with a better voice. She’s repulsive.

  2. Penguin says:

    Just read a brilliant book called The Grace Year and this reminds me so much of the female antagonist in it. She was obviously given the power and reassurance that she could treat anyone with disrespect and malice and nothing would come of it because she was a “star” and could cause other people to lose their livelihood. Absolutely horrendous.

  3. AppleTartin says:

    Even before this story hit no one was looking to hire Lea. She was reduced to shilling meal boxes on Instagram. She was literally on the same level as a reality contestant.

    Karma takes its time but it will find you in the end.

    • Genesis says:


      murphy reminds me how much of a random distributor karma can be. Ryan Murphy not getting exposed for his close friendship & continued support for Bryan Singer (ppl are letting him do work without putting him in the credits still) & his alleged involvement in former Glee star’s Mark Salling’s death.

      Salling was goin to name names for a better plea deal. A lot of those names had friends that agreed his disclosure was the ultimate liability. Oh – & Ed Buck, who interestingly enough gets zero mention in the media even though he is an alleged serial killer specifically targets YOUNG BLACK MEN who are vulnerable & gets off getting them high on crystal meth & addicted. He has killed two young black men. He is a councilman I believe in Los Angeles. Just another example of the sickness & mortal threats in a different category of my PoC brothers & sisters.

      Not gonna stop till all of this heinous treatment & those perpetrators outted & ended. tough for the kkklanpas & bullies in blue & every shade of racist/abuser in between – your time is up

      Lol sorry I got a little taken away there. But ya karma is long overdue for Murphy. I can imagine the fear of it being seen homophobic or whatever bc he has done a lot for lgbtq tv?

  4. Mtec says:

    I wanna know how many times she used Ryan Murphy’s name to threatened someone‘s job and it worked.

    It’s hard for me to believe that was the first time she felt emboldened enough to use his name, nor that she didn’t 100% believe she had the power to fire someone she didn’t like because of her friendship with him. It’s why it seems every cast member was scared to speak up against her.

    Yes, Murphy wasn’t part of the show for the later seasons, but there’s no way this started after Murphy left, this seems like something she was doing from very early own, hence how “used to it” everyone was. I also don’t believe Murphy never heard how nasty Lea was. He thrives on drama, he probably supported her “diva” ambitions.

    All that to say Lea is the one responsible for her awful/racist behaviour, and it doesn’t help that everyone’s the people in charge on the show supported her. Of course nothing ever changed, the lead and the people in the top line are the ones that set the tone.

  5. Flffgrrrlr says:

    I find it really hard to understand how someone so horrible progresses in their career. Was she really so talented that it was tolerated? I wouldn’t have said she was that talented but I’m not working in the industry. She has white privilege for sure, but even with that privilege I just would’ve thought that people who were awful wouldn’t be re-hired. It’s clear I don’t understand how this all works – and I know I’m likely naive – but it seems like she’s just been relentlessly terrible and everyone knew she was terrible and yet she succeeded in the industry. Is that normal?

    • Cee says:

      I guess Glee producers are just as bad as her. More talented people have had their careers decimated for much less.

    • lucy2 says:

      She hasn’t really progressed though. Someone from the NY theater scene said that no one there wanted to work with her, which is how she ended up going to LA for tv and film, and really all she’s gotten is Glee and a few other minor things, mostly from Ryan Murphy.
      It’s more than a lot of actors are lucky enough to get, but at the same time, her career has pretty much fizzled out even before this revelation.

    • Caela says:

      I mean her voice is incredible. In Glee they autotuned a lot and her pop songs are meh. But there are some live recordings of her voice that are breathtaking. I know it’s subjective but her tone at times is so pure it’s like glass. Look up her singing “Touch Me” live.

      I really really want her to be less of a dick and less racist and bullying because 1) everyone should be but also 2) so she can sing again on Broadway. I cannot think of any contemporary that can achieve her quality of tone. Ugh, why does she have to be the worst??

  6. Cee says:

    She’s always been annoying. Can she sing? Yes, but so can many others. I never understood Murphy’s obsession with casting her in everything – she’s not pretty, she’s not nice and her acting skills are pretty mediocre. However I guess birds of the same feather flock together…

    • booboocita says:

      I’ve always thought her voice was pretty DAMN good. I have a recording of the musical Spring Awakening, in which she was the lead female, and her singing was gorgeous. I don’t know if it was a musical choice on her part or she was directed to do so, but her singing on Glee started out fine and grew progressively more affected as the series wore on, with lots of squeaks and breathy effects. Her character was supposed to be a big fan of Barbra Streisand, and it now appears that she thought she *was* Barbra. B*tch, you were on a semi-successful TV show for six seasons. Iconic, you ain’t. Odious woman (Lea, not Barbra).

  7. Meg says:

    The most laughable example is when they’ve said she’s asked assistant directors to tell guests on the show ‘you can’t sit with us’ at lunch literally from mean girls
    But this point,
    ‘This is the type of situation that leads people to go into different lines of work, and it sounds like that’s what Lea’s intention was.’
    I think that’s her motive in a nutshell, if so many people are talented here and can do what I do then I don’t stand out as much or have as much power so I need to create a toxic work environment to make this experience awful so they won’t feel encouraged or supported to continue in this field. How pathetic is Lea? Like you’re the only person who can sing? But I’ve met people like this who see others success as their failure. Like life is a zero sum game
    I’m just remembering when a male costar of hers won a golden globe and the camera went to her and she convienently wiped away a ‘tear’ at that exact moment. I think it was this blog or maybe a comment I read somewhere and right away people accused her of pretending to cry