Lea Michele is opening up about the criticism she faced in 2020 for her behavior on the set of the hit show "Glee."

In an interview with Jeremy O. Harris for Interview Magazine, published on Monday, Michele, who currently stars as Fanny Brice in Broadway's "Funny Girl," said that she's reflected on the moment and reached out to those she said she's hurt to help rectify what happened.

"I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect," Michele said. "I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important things was for everybody to just take a step back."

In 2020, a social media post by Michele in support of the Black Lives Matter movement led some of her former "Glee" co-stars to come forward with claims that they were bullied by her.

PHOTO: Lea Michele arrives for the world premiere of Universal Pictures' "Knock at the Cabin", in New York City, Jan. 30, 2023.
Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images
Lea Michele arrives for the world premiere of Universal Pictures' "Knock at the Cabin", in New York City, Jan. 30, 2023.

"George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end. #BlackLivesMatter," Michele tweeted in June 2020, referencing the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who had been murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota, one week earlier.

In response to that post, actress Samantha Marie Ware, who is Black and played Jane Hayward in the final season of "Glee," posted her own tweet claiming that Michele had made her time on the show "a living hell."

"LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST [TELEVISION] GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET," she tweeted on June 2, 2020, quoting Michele's tweet.

Ware then recalled an incident she said happened in which Michele allegedly told others on the TV show's set that she would defecate in Ware's wig if given the opportunity. Ware claimed this was one of the "traumatic" microaggressions she said she experienced that made her "question a career in Hollywood."

Others also accused Michele of bad behavior, including actor Dabier Snell, who is Black and claimed Michele had allegedly been hostile toward him on set.


Michele's "Glee" "co-star Heather Morris also weighed in briefly, stating in a social media post that Michele was "unpleasant to work with."

"Glee" actress Amber Riley, meanwhile, said she did not believe Michele was racist but was still proud of Ware for speaking out.

"I'm not going to say that Lea Michele is racist. That's not what I'm saying," Riley, who is Black, told journalist Danielle Young in an Instagram live session at the time. "...But at the same time, in my inbox there are a lot of black actors and actresses telling me their stories and were letting me know they have dealt with the same things being on set, being terrorized by the white girls that are the leads of the show."

She added separately, "I'm very proud of [Ware] for standing up for herself. I am proud of her not being fearful for speaking her truth.... [The] feeling was, 'I am not going to allow you to jump on what is happening now when you didn't treat me right.'"

Following the allegations, Michele lost an endorsement deal with food prep company HelloFresh.

In June 2020, in the aftermath of the accusations, Michele released a statement on social media apologizing for her behavior "and for any pain which I have caused."

While I don't remember ever making this specific statement," she said at the time, referring to Ware's claim that Michele had threatened to defecate in her wig, "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."

She added, "...We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings ... I listened to these criticisms and I am learning and while I am very sorry, I will be better in the future from this experience."

Speaking with Harris in Interview Magazine, Michele said her "life got turned upside down" following the accusations, but said reaching out to those she had hurt was "healing" and "eye-opening" for her.

Before she took on her role in "Funny Girl," Michele said she wanted to make sure that she was a leader onstage and offstage.

"That was always a struggle for me," she said. "So to have this opportunity now at 36 years old as a wife and a mother -- to step into this job that comes with so much pressure and a huge amount of responsibility -- was a very, very big achievement for me."

"At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel," she added. "And you have to put aside your feelings."