Lea Michele has gotten a slight reprieve from one of her Glee co-stars. Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins on the Ryan Murphy series, took to Twitter on Wednesday to defend Michele, who starred as Rachel Berry on the show.
"Lot of people r assuming that @LeaMichele mistreated me. Let me state it clearly that I was never mistreated by her," he wrote. "And if some of the cast were treated badly then she has apologized for it which is wonderful."
Theba went on to warn his followers about the dangers of jumping to labels and conclusions in these situations.
"Being called a racist is too heavy & unfair a burden 4 most of us, specially in these troubled times," he continued. "So, please be compassionate, careful & responsible before we accuse anyone of this horrible thing called racism. I love each & everyone of my fellow cast members from our great show @OfficialGLEEtv Be safe & be well. Much love."
2/2 of us, specially in these troubled times. So, please be compassionate, careful & responsible before we accuse anyone of this horrible thing called racism. I love each & everyone of my fellow cast members from our great show @OfficialGLEEtv Be safe & be well. Much love ❤️— iqbal theba (@iqbaltheba) June 4, 2020
Michele was originally called out after posting a tweet in support of the Black Lives Matter movement last week. Her co-star, Samantha Marie Ware, replied to the tweet, writing, "LMAO, REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISION GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE I'LL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD 'S**T IN MY WIG!' AMONG OTHER TRAUMATIC MICRO AGGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD..."
This prompted several other Glee stars to call Michele out for her behavior during the show. She has since issued an apology, writing in part, "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."
Theba isn't the only Glee star to defend Michele. Dean Geyer, who played her on-screen boyfriend on the series, Brody Weston, told the Daily Mail that Michele was the "most welcoming" cast member to him.
"Lea is still one of my favorite co-stars that I have had the pleasure of working with. She is extremely hard working and super fun to be around," he said. "Her work ethic is so strong it forces you to always be on top of your game, and that's something I looked forward to everyday on set. I definitely learned a lot."
Of the reported issues between Michele and her co-stars, Geyer added, "I can only speak for myself and my own experience, but from what I saw during my time on set, there was nothing but professionalism and a genuine sense of community amongst the cast and crew... No one showed any signs of discomfort while Lea was on set. If I'm basing my opinion off my season, there definitely shouldn't be a reason for a backlash."
Similarly, former Glee producer Marti Noxon also spoke out somewhat in defense of Michele.
"That said, on GLEE there were LOTS of bad actors. Who were NOT women. People in the industry know who I’m talking about. Why aren’t we calling them out?" she wrote, per People in since-deleted tweets.
Noxon added, "It seems to me that women are the first to go under the bus. But a lot of males get away with being bullies-in-chief. How come we let them get away with it? Maybe it's because as long as they earn some money, they get a pass."
Noxon later clarified her comments, writing, "I wish to clarify an earlier statement I made and deleted because it was poorly phrased. When I said 'bad actors' in reference to my work on Glee - I was using the word actor as in 'people who took bad actions'. I wasn’t referring to anybody on set specifically."
I wish to clarify an earlier statement I made and deleted because it was poorly phrased. When I said “bad actors” in reference to my work on Glee - I was using the word actor as in “people who took bad actions”. I wasn’t referring to anybody on set specifically.— NOX NOX WHO’S WEARING A MASK? (@martinoxon) June 3, 2020
She later added, "I was on that show for one season, and only part time. By and large the people I met there were wonderful. And the crew was fantastic. But when bullies are allowed to act that way - there is a culture that permits it. That’s all I was saying. Thanks. Stay safe."
Michele's co-star, Amber Riley, also noted that Michele had "reached out" to her following the incident, adding, "I wish Lea Michele well... I have no hatred or ill will on that end." But Riley also noted that, "I don't give a s**t about this Lea Michele thing. I really don't give a f**k. I don't. I don't want to be asked about it," emphasizing her work with Black Lives Matter as her main focus.