“I was [Lea Michele]’s [understudy] in Ragtime. She was absolutely awful to me and ensemble,” Elizabeth Aldrich, who was 10 at the time, claimed in a tweet on Wednesday, June 3. “She demeaned the crew and threatened to have people fired if she was in anyway displeased. I used to cry every night from the mean and manipulative things she would do. She was 12. She was terrifying.”
The self-care coach added in a reply to a fan that Michele’s parents were “really lovely,” but she hypothesized they “were scared of her, too.”
Of course, Michele went on to headline across a slew of Broadway shows and starred as Rachel Berry on Glee. Elizabeth called out show creator Ryan Murphy, who she said was “without question a part” of encouraging Michele’s poor onset conduct.
“He allowed the behavior and watched as Lea intimidated fellow cast members,” the self-care guru said in response to a fan who claimed Ryan “blacklisted” Dianna Agron, who played Quinn Fabray. “Whether he is racist or not — [no] doubt, he allowed for objectively racist behavior. He needs to be held accountable.”
Backlash against Michele started on June 1 when her former Glee costar Samantha Ware reacted to the Brunette Ambition author’s tweet in support of Black Lives Matter.
“LMAO remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?” she tweeted. “‘Cause I’ll never forget. I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would ‘s–t in my wig’ amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood.”
Many more of Michele’s former coworkers came forward alleging she had bullied them in various ways. The New York native’s Spring Awakening costar Gerard Canonico said she was “nothing but a nightmare” to work with. Heather Morris, who played Brittany Pierce on Glee, later tweeted Michele was “unpleasant” to work with and should be “called out.”
The Dimension 404 actress lost her partnership with HelloFresh and shared a formal apology on June 3. “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 being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior,” Michele’s Instagram message read.
“Perceived? Purcieved? Purse? Open your purse??????????????” Ware, 28, tweeted later that day along with a GoFundMe link for James Scurlock, who was shot and killed during a protest in Omaha, Nebraska, seemingly in response to Michele’s apology.