Queen of the uncomfortable question Ziwe has done it again, asking Glee star Amber Riley whether an ~unnamed co-worker~ was racist. The unnamed co-worker was, of course, Lea Michele.
The duo discussed diversity and racism in the interview — so inevitably Glee, that bastion of on-and-off-screen chaos, tumult and alleged bullying, came up.
Ziwe asked: “You said that one of your famous co-workers wasn’t racist. Did you mean that she was?”
Now if you’re not up to date on your Lea Michele lore, this is a ref to a clip of Amber Riley from a 2020 Instagram Live, per People.
In a section of the clip shown later in the interview, Riley said, “I’m not going to say Lea Michele is racist”. In classic Ziwe fashion, Michele’s first name was artfully bleeped out.
A true highlight of the interview was the ominous Glee music playing as Riley tried to avoid answering the question. I mean, fair.
“I don’t know which co-worker you’re talking about, I had so many,” she joked.
She then called Ziwe “trouble” which again, fair.
“Would you say that your famous co-worker doesn’t see race, and in fact is rude to all of her co-workers?” Ziwe asked.
“I think that she would probably say she doesn’t see race, but as we discussed earlier, everyone does,” Riley replied.
“And that’s what the song ‘Colorblind’ is about,” Ziwe added.
If you aren’t a Gleek, this is a ref to the scene where Mercedes sings “Colourblind” about her interracial relationship with Sam (Chord Overstreet). It was just… one of the most Glee things to ever happen on Glee. That being said, still a Mercedes and Sam stan till I die.
Through tears of laughter, Riley confirmed the song was “not about her [Michele]”.
@ziwe i asked amber riley about her famous coworker #fyp #ziwe #comedy ♬ original sound – ziwe
ICYMI, back in 2020 Michele was accused of bullying by Glee actor Samantha Ware. Ware responded to a Black Lives Matter tweet Michele shared, and wrote: “Lmao, remember when you made my first television gig a living hell? Cause I’ll never forget”.
Ware alleged Michele told people she would “shit in [her] wig amongst other traumatic microaggressions”. The bullying allegations were echoed by other cast members, including Heather Morris and Alex Newell. Michele posted an apology on Instagram at the time and then spoke about the allegations in a 2022 interview.
Even if you’re not highly invested in the Rachel Berry of it all, I’d highly recommend watching the whole interview ‘cos it’s bloody excellent.
I could happily watch Ziwe and Amber Riley co-host a talk show exclusively interviewing the Glee cast in a similar vein to Jenna Ushkowitz and Kevin McHale‘s And That’s What You REALLY Missed podcast.
Basically, I’m just here for the lore.