Heather Morris is speaking out again about her time on Glee, offering an explanation about why it took so many years for her and her co-stars to talk about Lea Michele’s allegedly toxic behaviour on set.
On an episode of the podcast “Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino” that came out this week, Morris said that she and other members of the Glee cast “absolutely could have stepped up and gone to the Fox execs and said how we felt about the situation and nobody really did.”
“Now we are living in a culture where it’s acceptable to go do things like that, whereas I think many people were very scared,” she said. “I know, genuinely, I didn’t feel like it was my place and I don’t know why, because I was a cast member just like everybody else, and we all deserve to feel comfortable on a set.”
Glee ended in 2015, but interest in what happened behind the scenes has increased over the years. It spiked last summer when many cast members began airing allegations against Michele.
In 2016, the late Naya Rivera wrote in her memoir, Sorry Not Sorry, that the dynamics with Michele on set were less than ideal.
“If I’d complained about anyone or anything, she’d assumed I was bitching about her. Soon, she started to ignore me, and eventually it got to the point where she didn’t say a word to me for all of Season 6,” Rivera wrote.
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Last summer, during protests against racial inequality and police brutality, Michele tweeted support for Black Lives Matter. Glee alum Samantha Marie Ware replied, mentioning that Michele made her time on the show a “living hell” and said that the star had perpetrated “traumatic microaggressions.”
Other cast members, including Amber Riley and Dabier Snell, responded supportively to Ware, with Snell even saying: “Girl, you wouldn’t let me sit at the table with the other cast members cause ‘I didn’t belong there.’ … Fuck you Lea.”
After these grievances were made public, Michele issued a lengthy apology on social media, writing: “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 any pain which I have caused.”
On Pellegrino’s podcast, Morris elaborated on why her initial response to her co-stars speaking out was a bit milquetoast. At the time, Morris tweeted a statement declaring that “hate is a disease in America that we are trying to cure” and that Michele “SHOULD be called out,” but didn’t offer much more.
“I remember getting so much shade,” said Morris, “because people were like, ‘This is so fucking cryptic,’ like, ‘Why don’t you just go and say it?’ I’m like, ‘Guys, she’s pregnant, and all this stuff is going around and … it’s true.’”
Morris said that she wasn’t sure if she and the rest of the cast “were victims of bullying and that’s a typical victim thing to do, is to blame yourself, which is what people were saying.”
“But it also is very true and the only person who was honest about it was Naya [Rivera]. And it was something that was very hush-hush on set. And now you see all these things coming out with these bigger names, who were very disrespectful and mistreated a lot of people and people allowed it to happen,” Morris said.
The actor and singer emphasised that while everyone was “close with Lea at certain points,” they all went on to not be as “close with her.”
“So there’s that human element to it to understanding who this person is, growing with that person, seeing her try to become better,” she said.
You can listen to the entire episode here or below: