Glee’s Heather Morris Says People Were “Very Scared” To Confront Lea Michele’s Alleged Bullying

Photo: FOX Image Collection/Getty Images.
Heather Morris, who played Brittany S. Pierce on Glee, has addressed her former co-star Lea Michele's alleged bullying — more specifically, why she didn't speak out about it sooner.
The actress told Danny Pellegrino on his Everything Iconic podcast that in the summer of 2020, when Michele was being called out by Glee cast members for her alleged behavior, she was hesitant to say anything because she felt Michele was in a precarious state. “I remember getting so much shade and people were like, ‘Why don’t you go out and say it?’ And I’m like, ‘Guys, she’s pregnant and all this stuff is going around,'" Morris said.
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“And it’s true," she continued, "I don’t know if maybe we were victims of bullying, and it’s a typical victim thing to do to blame yourself, which is what people were saying, but… the only person who was honest about it was Naya [Rivera].”
In June 2020, former Glee cast member Samantha Marie Ware described a racist comment Michele allegedly made about her on set and how she made her first television gig experience "a living hell." Other cast members backed up Ware's allegations as more stories and claims about Michele's poor attitude began to flood social media. Among them was Morris, who wrote on Instagram that while she didn't want to "spread hate," Michele was indeed "unpleasant to work with." "...for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out,” she wrote. Michele issued a statement to People responding to the allegations a few days later: "While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that’s not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people."
Morris continued to tell Pellegrino about the show's tendency to sweep bad behavior under the rug, but that things in the industry have started to change. “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," she said.
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“We absolutely could have stepped up and gone to the Fox execs and said how we felt about the situation, and nobody did,” she continued. “I think many people were very scared, and I know, genuinely, I felt like it wasn’t my place, and I don’t know why because I was a cast member. We all deserve to feel comfortable on a set.”
Morris also said that it was difficult to reckon with the conflicting feelings she had about Michele. She wanted to call out her costar, but also support her after the 2013 death of her ex-boyfriend and fellow Glee star Cory Monteith.
“We all got close with Lea at certain points, and then we all weren’t as close with her,” she said. “So there’s that human element to understanding who this person is, growing with that person, seeing her try to become better and taking care of herself after Cory passed. It was just the elephant in the room.”
Refinery29 reached out to Michele for comment.

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