Lea Michele Finally Shuts Down The Bizarre Rumor That Continues To Follow Her

In June 2020, Lea Michele came under fire when former "Glee" co-star Samantha Ware accused her of abusive behavior while they worked on the hit show together. "Remember when you made my first television gig a living hell?!?! Cause I'll never forget," Ware tweeted at the time (via Variety). "I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would 's*** in my wig!'" she added. Shortly after, the "What/If" actor elaborated on how exactly she was mistreated on set. Ware claimed that Michele's "microaggressions" started their first day filming together. "The silent treatment, the stare-downs, the looks, the comments under her breath, the weird passive aggressiveness," she told Variety.

The day after Ware's viral tweet, Michele released a statement apologizing for her past actions. Although the former "Les Misérables" star said she could not recollect Ware's specific examples of on-set mistreatment. "What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people ... I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused," she said in a statement released to People.

Two years later, tension between the former "Glee" actors was reignited after Michele was cast in the play "Funny Girl." Once again, Ware took to Twitter. "Yes, Broadway upholds whiteness ... Yes, silence is complicity. Yes, I'm loud. Yes, I'd do it again," she tweeted in July (via Entertainment Weekly). Weeks later, Michele claimed she had matured since her "Glee" days. Plus, Michele set the record straight on a bizarre, long-running conspiracy theory

How the rumors started and persisted

During a feature article interview for The New York Times, Lea Michele discussed how she had changed over the years to become a better leader. The "Funny Girl" star also addressed the baffling rumor that she never learned to read or write. "I went to 'Glee' every single day; I knew my lines every single day," she told the Times on September 1. "And then there's a rumor online that I can't read or write? It's sad. It really is," Michele said. The veteran performer added that the rumors likely would have already died off if she "were a man."

Claims that Michele could not read or write stemmed from a Facebook Live stream from the "One More Thing" podcast (via Us Weekly) in 2017. The hosts, Jaye Hunt and Robert Ackerman, said Michele missed out a proper education because she was a child actor. "She never learned how to read," Ackerman said. "She missed that whole step. She was busy being famous!"

The rumor made a resurgence online amid Michele's casting in "Funny Girl." A fan tweeted in June, "Even though lea michele cant read my tweets, i will continue to stan." A month later, in July, the brand Tushy jokingly referenced the "Scream Queens" star's rumored inability to read. "Congratulations to Leah Michele!" they tweeted. "Just a reminder, our bidets are so easy to install, you don't even need to read the instructions."