Lea Michele blasts rumours she can’t read as sexist: ‘It’s sad. It really is’

Lea Michele looks over her shoulder

Former Glee actress and current Fanny Brice in Broadway’s stumbling revival of Funny Girl, Lea Michele, says a rumour-turned-meme that she is unable to read is sexist.

She’s spoken about her time on the iconic musical TV show – and backlash against her – in a new interview with The New York Times.

“I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day. And then there’s a rumour online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is,” she said.

She then went on the slam the rumours as sexist: “I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”

Lea Michele and Naya Rivera in Glee

Lea Michele and Naya Rivera in Glee. (FOX Image Collection via Getty)

The idea that Michele can’t read stems from the late Naya Rivera’s tell-all book about her time on Glee. Rivera wrote that Michele refused to improvise any takes on set with comedian and guest star Tim Conway.

In 2017 the hosts of pop-culture podcast One More Thing, Jaye Hunt and Robert Ackerman, joked that Michele must not be able to read since she never commented on Rivera’s story.

In the new interview, Michele also touched on allegations concerning her on-set behaviour on Glee, including claims of racism and making her life a “living hell” from co-star Marie Samantha Ware.

Lea Michele (L) was accused of making Samantha Marie Ware's life a 'living hell' by the Glee star. (Rebecca Sapp/WireImage for The Recording Academy/Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

Lea Michele (L) was accused of making Samantha Marie Ware’s life a ‘living hell’ by the Glee star. (Rebecca Sapp/WireImage for The Recording Academy/Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

The actress said that the allegations prompted, “an intense time of reflection” about her conduct at work.

“I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes,” Michele said.

“That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”

Other actors, including Glee cast members Alex Newell and Amber Riley, corroborated Ware’s claims.

Drag queen superstar Willam has also spoken out against Michele’s onset behaviour, saying Michele treated her ‘subhuman’.

Fans have been quick to point out that the illiterate rumour is a joke – with one playing on the title of Michele’s current lead role.

Others were more cynical of Michele’s response to the rumour.

However, Drag Race alum Katya came to Michele’s defence. Kind of.

Some Twitter users have also pointed out that the statement from Michele isn’t a categorical denial of the claim that she can’t read.

Michele was recently announced as the new Fanny Brice on Broadway and takes up the role from 6 September.

She takes over from Beanie Feldstein, who departed the show after producers  “decided to take the show in a different direction”