Heather Morris on Why the 'Glee' Cast Didn't Speak Up About Lea Michele's Alleged On-Set Behavior
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Heather Morris is opening up about the drama on the set of Glee. During an interview on the Everything Iconic With Danny Pellegrino podcast, the 34-year-old actress, who starred as Brittany S. Pierce on the musical series, revealed why the rest of the cast didn't speak up about alleged "bullying" by Lea Michele, who played Rachel Berry. ET has reached out to Michele's rep for comment.
Morris first spoke about Michele's alleged on-set behavior last year, after Samantha Ware, who appeared on 11 episodes of Glee, accused Michele of making her "first television gig a living hell."
In response to Ware's claims, Michele posted an apology on Instagram, writing that she "clearly acted in ways which hurt other people."
"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 for any pain which I have caused," Michele wrote in part.
Amid the allegations, Morris said that Michele had been "unpleasant to work with," a sentiment that was echoed by other Glee actors, as well as Michele's former Spring Awakening co-star.
At the time, though, Morris was criticized for saying that Michele's alleged behavior was "also on" the rest of the cast because they allowed it to "go on for so long."
"I remember getting so much shade because people were like, 'This is so f**king cryptic. Why don't you just go out and say it? I'm like, 'Guys, she's pregnant. And all this stuff is going around,'" Morris explained on the podcast of her comments, which came when Michele was pregnant with her first child. "... I don't know if we were victims of bullying and that's a typical victim thing to do is to blame yourself, which people were saying. But, it also is very true."
According to Morris, "the only person who was honest about" Michelle's alleged behavior was the late Naya Rivera, who died last July. Back in 2016, Rivera, who played Santana Lopez on Glee, spoke out about her relationship with Michele.
"Santana and Rachel hated each other, but they also had this love-hate sort of relationship," Rivera told ET at the time. "I feel like Lea and I had that while we were on the show."
Michele's alleged behavior, Morris said, was "something that was very hush hush on set."
"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. "We absolutely could've 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 [at the time of Glee]," Morris continued. "I know, genuinely, I didn't feel like it was my place. I don't know why because I was a cast member just like everybody else. We all deserve to feel comfortable on a set."
Morris also noted that Michele's alleged behavior was "the elephant in the room" throughout much of the series.
"We all got close with Lea at certain points and then we all weren't as close with her. There's that human element to it, to understanding who this person is, growing with that person, seeing her try to become better, and taking care of herself after Cory passed," she said of the late Cory Monteith, who starred on Glee and dated Michele. "It was just the elephant in the room."
Michele has not spoken out about the allegations since her 2020 Instagram post. A source tells ET, though, that Michele "cares deeply about her work, always comes prepared and can be a bit intense in her style."
"After Cory Monteith's death, things became much harder for her to handle. Lea would get upset when cast members were partying or seemingly not taking things as seriously as she was," the source says.