Earlier this month Samantha replied to Lea’s Black Lives Matter social media post with the following reply:
“LMAO remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause I’ll never forget. I believe you told everyone if [you] had the opportunity you would ‘shit in my wig!’ Amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood…”
In her interview with Variety, Samantha revealed the moment she knew Lea didn’t like her, which was on her first day of work on Glee.
“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,” Samantha told Variety. “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,” Samantha continued. “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.”
Reflecting on the moment, Samantha thinks she may have unintentionally offended Lea while shooting a scene.
Samantha thinks she may have unintentionally offended Lea while shooting a scene.
“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,” she said. “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.”
“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,” Samantha said. “You need to come here right now,” she added that Lea said. “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.”
“It’s scary. For the full week, I was thinking I’m probably going to get an email and I might not be able to do the last three episodes, or I might not be able to sing another song.”
“When I tried to speak up for myself, she told me to shut my mouth. She said I don’t deserve to have that job,” Samantha continued. “She talked about how she has reign. And here’s the thing: I completely understood that, and I was ready to be like, ‘This is your show. I’m not here to be disrespectful.’ But at that point, we were already past the respect and she was just abusing her power.”
As for the now famous “shit in your wig” comment, Lea apparently said that after Samantha laughed during a screening of an episode.
“She had an issue because I had laughed [when watching a scene] and that’s when the ‘I’m going to s–t in your wig’ comment happened,” Lea said. “Some chuckled and some gasped. It was mortifying. The whole point was for her to embarrass me. People heard her, but no one was going to stand up to her….Black women historically are known for their wigs.”
“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,” Samantha continued. “It shouldn’t have to take my tweet. When you tweet, “Black lives matter,” that would mean you have an understanding of what that hashtag means, but it’s clear that it doesn’t. Does Lea even know what a microaggression is? I don’t know. All that her apology did was affirm that she hasn’t learned anything. Am I calling Lea a racist? No. Does Lea have racist tendencies? I think Lea suffers from a symptom of living in this world in an industry that is tailored to white people.”
“I would love to be someone behind the table and at the table making room for others at the table,” Samantha added about her future. “Even my skin and my presence is an act of liberation and defiance and joy, so for me to be in a room that I was never intended to be in is enough. I believe I do good work, and I believe that I try to give as much love and respect to the people around me.”
The ball is in your court, Lea Michele.
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