In a Wednesday statement shared with PEOPLE magazine, Michele said that while she doesn’t remember making the remarks or microaggressions, that isn’t really the point.
The 33-year-old promised to be better moving forward.
“One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face,” Michele said.
The exchange began after Michele addressed the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in white police custody, on Twitter Sunday.
She Tweeted, “George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end,” including the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter
— Lea Michele (@LeaMichele) May 29, 2020
Ware quickly responded, dragging Michele for making her life a “living hell” while shooting together on Glee.
LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD “SHIT IN MY WIG!” AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD… https://t.co/RkcaMBmtDA
— SAMEYAAAAAA (@Sammie_Ware) June 2, 2020
The takedown Tweet has since amassed more than 460,000 likes and 6,000 replies, including positive affirmations from fellow Glee star Alex Newell and other Hollywood celebrities.
Michele’s partnership with HelloFresh has since been terminated by the company, according to CNN.
“HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind. We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele,” the company announced on social media.
HelloFresh does not condone racism nor discrimination of any kind. We are disheartened and disappointed to learn of the recent claims concerning Lea Michele. We take this very seriously, and have ended our partnership with Lea Michele, effective immediately.
— HelloFresh US (@HelloFresh) June 2, 2020
Michele and Ware Starred in the Final Season of Glee Together
Ware, 28, played the role of Jane Hayward during the sixth and final season of Glee. Her character appeared in 11 episodes alongside Michele’s Rachel Berry. Throughout the season, Michele’s character recruited Ware’s for the high school show choir.
Since appearing on the musical series, Ware has starred in What/If, and guest-starred on Barry, NCIS: New Orleans, Chicago Med, Bull and God Friended Me.
Ware ripped into Michele’s May 29 tweet saluting the Black Lives Matter movement, claiming the 33-year-old made her time on set “a living hell.”
The actress said Michele’s microaggressions made her question whether she wanted to continue working in Hollywood.
Thousands of online users responded and shared Ware’s tweet, praising her for speaking out.
Newell, who played Unique Adams on the Ryan Murphy series, thanked Ware for reminding him that he still followed Michele on Twitter — so that he could unfollow her. He also posted a gif of RuPaul needing to use her opera glasses.
— Alex Newell (@thealexnewell) June 2, 2020
Fans Find Michele’s Apology Unsatisfactory
The backlash for Michele has continued even after issuing her June 3 apology.
On Instagram, the Glee star was criticized for not “actually” apologizing in her lengthy statement, which never mentions Ware by name. The post now has over 12,000 comments.
Michele said she “never judged others by their background or color of their skin,” and that she “[apologized] for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused.”
“This isn’t an apology,” commented Emma Hunton, who briefly costarred with Michele in the 2008 Broadway “Spring Awakening.”
Many fans questioned whether Michele was taking full responsibility, noting her use of deflective language.
“Apologizing for how you were ‘perceived’ is not an apology,” wrote one user by the name ash.buenaflor.
So far, Ware hasn’t responded to Michele’s apology, but has instead shifted her social media focus back to the Black Lives Matter movement.