Lea Michele Addresses Rumors That She Can't Read

Lea Michele responded to a bizarre conspiracy theory that the Glee actress cannot read and write. Michele was asked about the allegation in a new profile for The New York Times ahead of her debut as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl. She is taking over the role from Beanie Feldstein, who announced plans to leave in July after the production received mostly negative reviews.

"I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day," Michele, 36, told the Times. "And then there's a rumor online that I can't read or write? It's sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn't be the case."

This was not the first time Michele addressed the odd rumor that she is illiterate. When they arose in 2018, Michele tweeted to a fan that she was "laughing her head off right now" about it, reports PEOPLE. "Loved READING this tweet and wanted to WRITE you back? Literally, laughing out loud at all this? love you!!!?" Michele wrote.

Elsewhere in her new interview, Michele spoke about the 2020 controversy that seemed to stall her career in television and movies. In June 2020, Michele's show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement prompted Glee actress Samantha Marie Ware to come forward, accusing Michele of "traumatic microaggressions" when they worked on the Fox show together. Heather Morris also tweeted that it was unpleasant to work with Michele. She also lost a partnership with HelloFresh. Michele later apologized, saying at the time that she "clearly acted in ways which hurt other people."

Michele declined to discuss the details of Ware's allegations because she doesn't "feel the need to handle things." Ware also declined to be interviewed. When Michele's Funny Girl casting was announced, Ware tweeted, "Yes, Broadway upholds whiteness." Ware has since made her Twitter account private.

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Michele did tell the Times she has an intense work style that some might not agree with. "I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes," she said. "That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots."

The allegations led to an "intense time of reflection" for Michele about her work conduct. She now feels better equipped to lead a Broadway show for the first time since she left Spring Awakening in 2008. "I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader," she told the Times. "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."