The internet can be a very unforgiving landscape for celebrities facing public backlash for their behaviors. Once the angry mob forms and chases you up the digital bell tower, there is seemingly nowhere to run. The last resort for Hollywood stars who find themselves in this predicament is to delete their social media accounts.
Finding herself raising the ire of “Glee” fans all over the world, again, actress Lea Michele removed herself from Twitter this week. Over the past few months, Michele has been at the center of very incendiary accusations from her former “Glee” co-stars, notably Samantha Ware and Alex Newell. Reportedly, during the hit show’s run, countless cast members claim Michele treated them terribly with Ware recalling in a tweet, when the lead actress threatened to “sh*t on her wig!”
When the stories of Michele’s unpleasantries began to surface in June, there was a bit of a pile-on as it seems everyone came out of the woodwork to say how awful it was to work with her. In a recent podcast episode of “Naughty But Nice with Rob Shuter,” he and I discussed the matter and noted the countless claims many have made against Michele. There must have been some validity to the accusations because back on June 3rd, she issued a public apology to ‘anyone who she may have harmed’ by her actions. Social media continued to drag her and she voluntarily went off the grid with little online activity.
On Saturday, Michele quietly deleted her Twitter account, leaving many to wonder if her abrupt social media departure had anything to do with the then reported disappearance and presumed drowning death of former “Glee” co-star, Naya Rivera.
Naya Rivera became a breakout star on ‘Glee” in her role as sassy, bisexual, singing cheerleader “Santana.” Michele had become a fan-favorite early on and the unofficial “star” of the show,” but Rivera was a powerhouse in her own right, a triple threat: singer, dancer, and actress. Rumors on the set were that Michele made life hell for Rivera on the show, and it’s no secret today that there had been tension between the two stars. Rivera even confirmed the rumors were true in 2016, but also claimed they were a bit exaggerated.
This past weekend in Ventura Country, California, authorities confirmed that a body pulled out of Lake Piru was that of 33-year-old Rivera. Sadly, they suspected the actress drowned in the lake while on an outing with her 4-year-old son, who was found alone on a boat wearing a life jacket, wrapped in a towel.
Lea Michele had been on Twitter publically expressing her concern while searches for Rivera were underway days ago. Many of Rivera’s fans were quick to call Michele out for her hypocrisy, citing the past feuds she had with Rivera, though in recent years, the two had seemingly put that behind them.
I have to admit some of the tweets directed at Michele were terrible with one of the most reprehensible suggestions that it should have been her that drowned, and not Naya.
Such unabashed nastiness is a clear example of the main thing that’s wrong with the internet: the anonymity of not being in someone’s presence, saying horrid things recklessly, with no fear of repercussion.
Twitter user @voguesjace took the mob to task with the following tweet:
“lea michele deactivated because people were commenting on her posts “it should’ve been you instead of naya” y’all are f*cking sick.”
That is a terrible thing to say, and I’m glad @voguesjace called it out.
lea michele deactivated because people were commenting on her posts “it should’ve been you instead of naya” y’all are fucking sick.
— sophie ♡ (@blumariness) July 12, 2020
In a counter-response Twitter user, @ElenchusMethod took a more compassionate approach and single-handedly renewed my faith in humanity with the following message:
“Sometimes, people look for someone to blame and often become as oppressive as they were victimized. That energy needs to be channeled to pray for Naya’s distraught family. I’m sure Lea is suffering regardless of the past”
I completely agree with that sentiment and my heart goes out to everyone touched by this tragedy … that also includes Lea Michele.