Amber Riley goes viral after her reaction to Lea Michele racism question

9 December 2022, 17:29

By Katie Louise Smith

"I don’t know which co-worker you’re talking about – I’ve had so many."

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Amber Riley's reaction to a chaotic question about her former Glee co-star Lea Michele is doing the rounds on social media and people cannot stop watching it.

Back in 2020, Glee star Samantha Ware accused Lea of bullying and racial microagressions. Other Glee cast members also weighed in and alluded to their own experiences with Lea, including Amber – albeit very briefly.

Amber later addressed the situation in an Instagram Live with journalist Danielle Young, saying: "I don't give a shit about this Lea Michele thing. I wish Lea Michele well. I hope that she has grown. That's my hope and my prayer for her. She reached out to me, I responded to her and that's where it ends for me."

"I have no hatred or ill will on that end. And I want to make that very clear," she continued, before adding: "This is the first and last time I'm gonna say something."

However, the subject has now come up again for Amber thanks to Ziwe. Appearing on Ziwe's talk show, the host broached the topic of Lea's alleged behaviour – and Amber's answer has now gone viral on social media.

Ziwe asks Amber Riley about Lea Michele's racism accusations
Ziwe asks Amber Riley about Lea Michele's racism accusations. Picture: Showtime via YouTube, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for alice + olivia

At the start of the interview, Ziwe (who is known for her hilariously awkward and direct questions) and Amber share a quick discussion about diversity and racism.

They briefly discuss whether or not Amber believes in the "I don't see race" group (she does not believe that other people believe they don't see colour), whether or not the Glee cast was more diverse than the Supreme Court, and whether or not there was a "race war" on Glee.

Laughing, Amber replies: "No, it would require different races. I was the only Black one."

Ziwe then quickly steers the interview on to the subject of Glee and catches Amber out on a question about her former co-star Lea.

Referring to the 2020 Instagram Live where Amber said that she "is not going to say that Lea Michele is racist", Ziwe asks: "Now, speaking of getting down in the muck, you said that one of your famous co-workers wasn’t racist. Did you mean that she was?"

Amber immediately covered her face and laughed off the question before attempting to move on by saying, "I don't even know how to answer that."

As a hilarious Glee-esque version of 'Flight of the Bumblebee' plays in the background, Amber squirmed her way into thinking of a vague enough answer while Ziwe waited patiently.

Eventually, Amber said, "I don’t know which co-worker you’re talking about – I’ve had so many," before smiling at Ziwe and calling her "trouble".

Ziwe then continued on with her questioning, asking Amber: "Would you say that your famous co-worker doesn’t see race and is, in fact, rude to all of her co-workers?" Amber then replied: "I think that she would probably say she doesn’t see race. But as we discussed earlier, everyone does."

The clip has now done the rounds on Twitter and TikTok, with people screaming at Amber's reaction and Ziwe's questions.

Earlier this year, Lea Michele addressed the accusations of her behaviour on the set of Glee in an interview with The New York Times.

Although she does not reference the bullying and microagression claims directly, Lea said: "I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader. It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me."

Lea declined to discuss Samantha Ware's accusations but added: "I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots."

In response to the claims in 2020, Lea released a statement on Instagram saying: "I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused."

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