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More Costars Of Lea Michele Have Come Forward To Criticise And Defend Her, With One Calling Her "Absolutely Awful"

"She demeaned the crew and threatened to have people fired if she was in anyway displeased."

Lea Michele's Glee controversy is refusing to go away as yet more people come forward to share their experiences with her on set.

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Earlier this week, Samantha Ware — who starred in Glee alongside Lea during its sixth season — accused the actor of "traumatic microagressions" in response to a tweet made by Lea about the death of George Floyd.

Further allegations were then levelled at Lea, with Dabier Snell — who briefly appeared in Glee's fourth season — accusing her of not letting him sit at a table with the other cast members because he "didn't belong there".

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Now, a further three people have come forward to both defend and criticise Lea, including Glee actor Iqbal Theba, who played Principal Figgins.

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"Lot of people [are] assuming that @LeaMichele mistreated me," Iqbal tweeted on Thursday. "Let me state it clearly that I was never mistreated by her. And if some of the cast were treated badly then she has apologized for it which is wonderful."

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After Samantha's initial tweet, Lea apologised in an Instagram statement where she said that, while she didn't recall the incident happening, it was clear that she had "acted in ways which hurt other people."

She added: "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."

Iqbal continued that "being called a racist is too heavy & unfair a burden [for] most of us" before encouraging people to be "compassionate, careful & responsible" with their accusations.

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 ❤️

Elizabeth Aldridge, who said she'd played Lea's understudy when they were children, also waded into the matter, accusing Lea of making her cry at the time, as well as "demean[ing] the crew" and allegedly "threaten[ing] to have people fired".

I was @LeaMichele’s u/s in Ragtime. She was absolutely awful to me and ensemble. She demeaned the crew and threatened to have people fired if she was in anyway displeased. I used to cry every night from the mean and manipulative things she would do. She was 12. She was terrifying

In a separate tweet, Elizabeth called Lea "a manipulative narcissist who couldn't care less about who she hurts."

Finally, a source who previously worked with Lea reportedly told Us Weekly that while she was never discriminatory to other castmates, she was "completely self-obsessed" with "an aggressive personality".

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"It didn't matter if you were young or old, black or white — it's just kind of her world," the source apparently told Us Weekly. "Things are seen through a lens, and it comes from a very protective place where obviously she's been on guard."

The source added: "She's fiery and she has more of an aggressive personality where most people would play weak or vulnerable or ask for sympathy and Lea does not do that."

These latest claims levelled at Lea come off the back of even more allegations earlier this week, as cast and crew members from Glee chimed in on the controversy.

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Amber Riley, who was a part of the core cast of Glee alongside Lea, said: "I'm not going to say that Lea Michele is racist. That's not what I’m saying."

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She continued: "That was the assumption because of what's going on right now in the world and it happened toward a black person. I'm not going to say that she's racist."

However, Amber said she'd received numerous messages from black actors with stories about being "terrorized by the white girls that are the leads of the show".

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Saying that it would be the "first and last" time she'd address the Lea accusations, Amber added: "I wish Lea Michele well. I hope that she has an amazing pregnancy, I hope that she has grown."

Heather Morris — who played Brittany on Glee between 2009 and 2015 — said Lea had been "unpleasant to work with" before appearing to at least partly blame other cast members for not speaking up sooner.

"At the current moment it's implied that she is a racist and although I cannot comment on her beliefs, I think we're assuming," Heather said in a statement on Twitter. "And you know what happens when we all assume..."

In since-deleted tweets, Glee producer Marti Noxon appeared to partially defend Lea, saying that "women are the first to go under the bus" before suggesting that male actors on set were "bullies-in-chief".

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"How come we let them get away with it?" Marti asked. "Maybe it's because as long as they earn someone money, they get a pass."

Marti later clarified her tweets, saying: "I was on [Glee] 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."

Meanwhile, Dean Geyer — who played Lea's onscreen boyfriend in 2014 — defended her and went as far as to say that, based on his experience on the set of Glee, he didn't think the backlash was warranted.

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"I can only speak for myself and my own experience," he said. "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."

Dean continued: "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."

BuzzFeed News has reached out to reps of Lea Michele for comment.

Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.

Contact Ben Henry at ben.henry@buzzfeed.com.

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