Lea Michele Responds to Rumors She Can’t Read in the Funniest Way
Lea Michele is officially in on the joke.
Following her well-received debut in Broadway’s Funny Girl earlier this month, Michele made her TikTok debut over the weekend with a hilarious callback to her iconic role as Rachel Berry on beloved teen dramedy Glee. Michele flamboyantly lipsyncs to “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” a song from the show that became a signature to both the character and the actress. While the short video was a hit and racked up over 4.8 million views, it’s the follow-up video that actually has fans in shambles.
It alludes to silly gossip that has evolved into a widespread pop culture conspiracy theory that Michele, a 36-year-old actress who has been in the industry for decades, is illiterate. While it began as an inside joke among Gleeks, it recently became more widespread with fans finding interviews and on-camera moments seemingly confirming the rumor. It became so prevalent that Michele felt the need to respond to it in a recent New York Times interview.
“There’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write?” she said. “It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”
That response only fueled the fires more, but now Michele has responded in a much funnier way.
We see Michelle holding a phone and shakily calling longtime friend and Spring Awakening costar Jonathan Groff to ask “can you talk for a sec.” The caption reads, “Calling Jonathan to read me the comments on my first TikTok.”
The video has nearly 8 million views with fans commenting things like, “LEA I’M SCREAMING” and “This is funny, girl.” Even Drag Race star Kim Chi joined in, saying, “I can’t wait for you to hear the responses on this TikTok!”
Michele could certainly use the goodwill right now. Her legacy with the beloved show was tarnished in 2020 when castmates revealed that her diva characterization was closer to real life than fans might’ve wanted to believe. Season 6’s Samantha Ware claimed that Michele made her life a “living hell” on set and threatened to “s- in my wig!”
After numerous other costars spoke out about her bad behavior, Michele released a statement: “I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people. Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused.” Following the scandal, she all but disappeared from social media.
So that’s what you missed on Glee. Now, Michele is back in the spotlight, the debate around if her second coming is earned still rages, Funny Girl is selling out shows, and while she still hasn’t exactly disproven those illiteracy rumors, leaning into the joke is certainly earning her brownie points on the internet.
As Kurt Hummel tearfully cries on the show, “she may be difficult, but boy she can sing.”