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Lea Michele Says Online Rumors That She's Illiterate Are 'Really Sad'

The Glee star also addressed allegations of "microaggressions," chalking them up to her "perfectionism."
  • Lea Michele in Glee (Photo: Everett Collection)
    Lea Michele in Glee (Photo: Everett Collection)

    Two years after Lea Michele's Glee co-stars called her out for "microaggressions" on set, the Broadway star addressed the allegations in a wide-ranging New York Times profile published Thursday.

    Though Michele apologized to Glee's Samantha Ware, who accused Michele of making her life "a living hell" in June 2020, she admitted the allegations — which came from Ware and other actors on the musical dramedy — prompted an "intense time of reflection" about her role on set.

    "I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader," Michele told the NYT. "It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera's rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn't always the most important thing for me."

    Michele went on to attribute allegations of "microaggressions" to her intensity as an actor. "I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes," she said. "That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots."

    These "blind spots" have opened Michele up to online criticism — in fact, Twitter users have already called her out for "excusing her racism and transphobia" with the "perfectionism" remark — but one rumor has persisted since her Glee days: that she's illiterate.

    "I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day," said the Funny Girl star. And then there's a rumor online that I can't read or write? It's sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn't be the case."

    Glee is available to stream on Disney+ and Hulu.

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    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Lea Michele, Glee, Ryan Murphy, racism