The actress takes aim at anyone laughing at the idea of someone not being able to read, calling them “elitist” and “ableist.”
Even after she formally and directly addressed the rumors in a recent interview, Lea Michele is still having to deal with social media speculation that she’s illiterate, and Jameela Jamil is fed up with it.
Without naming names, but pretty clearly alluding to the “Glee” alum, Jamil posted on her own Instagram page, calling out those who would suggest that it’s funny or a good idea to make fun of anyone who can’t read.
“I see a lot of people claiming a certain actress can’t read,” she wrote in her post. “And then laughing at her.”
She then specified that she does not know “this woman, or anything about her.” The bigger issue for Jamil is that “laughing at the idea of *anyone* not being able to read makes YOU look like a prick. An elitist, ableist bore.”
She concluded her sentiment by writing, “It’s embarrassing for you, not them.”
She went on to write more about the topic in her caption to the post. “Don’t let the debris of your bullets meant for some… hit those you weren’t aiming at,” she wrote there.
“Some people can’t read because of disability, learning disabilities, some can’t because of a lack of access to education,” Jamil continued. “Your words and actions also affect them.”
She then offered a helpful suggestion: “If you’re so f—ing smart, find a smarter way to insult the people you think are bad. 🤘🏽”
Rumors that Michele can’t read first started back in 2017 with a podcast joke. While talking about how Michele purportedly did not like to improvise scenes, “One More Thing” co-hosts Jaye Hunt and Robert Ackerman joked that it could be because she had memorized lines read to her from the script and couldn’t deviate from that.
“I went to ‘Glee’ every single day; I knew my lines every single day,” Michele told The New York Times in an interview posted this past week. “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.”
Previously, she had appeared to joke about the rumor, responding to a fan who thought she was laughing over it it via Twitter in 2020. In a since-deleted tweet, Michele wrote, “Loved READING this tweet and wanted to WRITE you back😛 literally laughing out loud at all this😂 love you!!! 😘❤️.”
The interview was set to coincide with Michele taking on the iconic role of Fanny in Broadway’s revival of “Funny Girl.” The role was also a dream for her “Glee” character Rachel Berry, but it was her alleged behavior on that set that drew bigger headlines than her character’s story coming to life.
In June 2020, Samantha Ware accused Michele of making her entire experience as part of the show’s cast “a living hell,” saying she faced “traumatic microagressions” from the actress. Other stars weighed in, with Heather Morris agreeing Michele was “unpleasant” to work with.
Michele apologized at the time via Instagram, saying she “clearly acted in ways which hurt other people” and said she would step away and take time to “reflect” on her “shortcomings.”
When asked about those allegations in the NYT interview, Michele shared some of what that reflection led to. “I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader,” she said.
“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.”
Michele wouldn’t discuss any specific allegations, saying that she didn’t feel “the need to handle things” through the media. But she did say that how she was on the set was a result of her particular work ethic.
“I have an edge to me. I work really hard,” she told the outlet. “I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”
After what she described as an “intense time of reflection,” Michele said that she feels “more ready than I ever have before, both personally and professionally” to step back into a leadership role for a production, like “Funny GIrl.”
Michele starts her run as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” on Broadway September 6.