Heather, 34 — who played cheerleader Brittany S. Pierce — appeared on Danny Pellegrino‘s podcast where she addressed the controversy surrounding Lea, 34, that came to light in 2020. Allegations that the Broadway alum created a toxic work environment on set emerged when costar Samantha Ware blasted her on Twitter. Soon after the 28-year-old’s tweets went viral, other Glee alums like Heather voiced similar concerns about their own issues with Lea.
“I remember getting so much shade and people were like, ‘Why don’t you go out and say it?’ And I’m like, ‘Guys, she’s pregnant and all this stuff is going around,’” Heather recalled on the Wednesday, May 26, episode. “And it’s true, I don’t know if maybe we were victims of bullying, and it’s a very victim thing to do to blame yourself, which is what people were saying, but … the only person who was honest about it was Naya [Rivera].”
The dancer then went on to explain why the cast didn’t report the New Year’s Eve star’s bullying to the network bosses. “It was something that was very hush-hush on set, and now you see all these things coming out with these bigger names who were very disrespectful and mistreated a lot of people,” Heather said.
“We absolutely could have stepped up and gone to the Fox execs and said how we felt about the situation, but no one did. … I think many people were very scared, and I know, genuinely, I felt like it wasn’t my place, and I don’t know why because I was a cast member,” Heather continued.
She revealed that there was much awkwardness around the cast about Lea’s alleged mistreatment. Her behavior may have been connected to the fact that costar and boyfriend at the time Cory Monteith died in July 2013 due to an alcohol and drug overdose.
“We all got close with Lea at different points, and then we all weren’t as close with her,” the Dancing with the Star contestant said. “So there’s that human element to understanding who this person is, growing with that person, seeing her try to become better and taking care of herself after Cory’s passed. It was just the elephant in the room.”
In June 2020, Lea responded to the claims she was a bully on set. In a lengthy Instagram post, she wrote, “One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face.”
“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,” Lea continued. “We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings.”
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