As Samantha Marie Ware puts it, “it shouldn’t have to take my tweet” to effect change in Hollywood. And change has been overdue for years.
In a new interview with Variety, the actor opened up about holding former co-star Lea Michele accountable to how the latter treated her during the sixth season of Glee. “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,” Samantha, whose first performance on the show was a rendition of Janelle Monaé’s “Tightrope” with the Dalton Warblers. “It all built up.” Paradoxically, the scene opens with a text from Lea’s character, Rachel Berry, telling Samantha’s character, Jane Hayward, that she's cheering her on.
But in real life, Samantha said, “there was nothing gradual” about Lea’s treatment toward her. “As soon as she decided that she didn’t like me, it was very evident,” she said. She also told Variety that Lea once tried to personally and publicly reprimand her for work that a scene director didn’t have a problem with, but which Lea apparently found “disrespectful.” (The actor’s reps did not return a request for comment from Variety.) “She decided to threaten my job, and said she would call Ryan Murphy in to come and fire me,” Samantha added.
Later, Samantha tried to have a conversation with Lea about being called out. “When I tried to speak up for myself, she told me to shut my mouth,” she remembers. “She said I don’t deserve to have that job. 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.” Samantha added, "No one was stopping these things, which is an issue because the environment was helping perpetuate this abuse.”
Lea’s reps declined to comment on the record when reached by Teen Vogue. Per Variety, Lea previously tried to contact Samantha personally: “After attempting to get in touch directly with Ware through a mutual connection, Ware declined to provide her personal contact information to Michele, instead asking her to contact her representatives, who received a personal email from Michele on Jun. 3 with an apology letter,” the outlet said.