Glee star Lea Michele 'called extras cockroaches on set, refused eye contact and burped in a black woman's face'

LEA Michele branded extras "cockroaches" on the set of Glee, refused eye contact and once burped in a black woman's face, actors from the show have claimed exclusively to The Sun.

The 33-year-old star, who is at the center of a racism storm after being called out by former co-star Samantha Ware on Twitter, allegedly made background actors working on the Fox comedy-drama feel as though they were "nothing."

African-American talent Imia Edwards, who featured in the sixth series in 2015, is one of a number of people to speak out since Leah, 33, was accused of racism and on-set bullying – following her Twitter tribute to George Floyd.

Imia told The Sun she heard "multiple" people say she called extras "cockroaches" behind-the-scenes.

Imia claimed: "I've never really seen anyone treat extras like that, to that level of, 'Ugh, don't look at me, don't make eye contact, ugh cockroaches, there they are.'

"Dude, we're still coworkers, we're still people, all trying to get this episode done as a group.

"I think I was even on a different show and someone was like, 'Oh, you know Lea's a b***h, right? She calls the extras cockroaches."

Imia, 34, recalled portraying a dancer on Glee who stood in a hallway during an "audition" in New York, where Lea’s character Rachel had to storm out of the room and walk past her and other extras.

She claimed: "Take after take she had to walk by me in a huff, but in between certain things would just happen.

"She walked by me and burped in my face, this loud burp, directly almost face-to-face, it wasn't even like, 'oh she wouldn't have known…' she knew she burped in my face!

"Two other people saw it and an operator said, 'Oh my God, I'm so sorry she did that.' I was just like, 'Yeah, whatever,' you're on set trying to be professional, you're not trying to make a huge deal about things.

"[After] the second or third take she walked by me and stepped on my foot really hard. You know when you bump into someone you can feel it, again nothing, no reaction, like I wasn't there.

"Another extra rolled her eyes like, 'Wow, that's so like her to not acknowledge.' It made me feel like I was nothing, even if she just said in a half-a**ed kind of way like, 'Oh, I'm sorry,' but no."

Imia said while most actors don't speak to extras on set, they usually let their guard down slightly, whereas Lea was "cold" and wouldn't engage with any of them or even make eye contact.

Since she posted about her experience on social media, Imia says other former cast members and even drivers for the show have come forward to complain about Lea's behavior.

She said: "I'm hearing a lot of stories about the same thing.

"A friend said she had to sit with extras, I think in a crowd scene and she was throwing a fit to the producer like, 'Can anyone else do this?'"

Asked if she feels her experience was because of the color of her skin, Imia said: "That's heavy, I don't really like to pull that card [but] if she is racist then she should be called out.

"She did treat me like I was nothing, like I wasn't even worth making eye contact with, so maybe.

"These things can offend and hurt us, and sometimes they don't know what they're saying or maybe they think they can get away with it, 'Oh it's just a black person, they don't really care, they're less than.'

"It needs to be brought up. I don't know if we're ever really going to fully be free, with everything that's going on in the world, it's really frustrating."

Other former extras seemingly backed up Imia's claims on Twitter, with one posting to the star: "I used to be a set medic and not-so-fondly recall you referring to background actors as 'cockroaches,' it was at that moment I knew you were incredibly insincere and insecure."

Brian Savage also shared: "I was also a 'cockroach' on @OfficialGLEEtv and witnessed inexcusable behavior by @LeaMichele each time."

Jeff Hull, who was a warbler student on the show's final season, claims he too heard she called extras "cockroaches" when the cameras weren't rolling.

He also told The Sun of an alleged run-in between her and a friend playing a "vocal adrenaline student," who faced Lea's wrath in a hair and makeup trailer.

Jeff said: "He got seated and Lea Michele came in, walked right up behind him, grabbed him by the hair and like pulled him up saying 'That's my seat!'

"He wants to remain anonymous but I've spoken to him since this came out. She's a mean girl, a Regina George, she has a bad attitude.

"I've told this story to friends for a while, stuff like that bothers me about Hollywood, it makes me not want to be an actor.

"I always felt she had a reputation, people talk about different actors, and who is difficult to work with."

The actress was initially called out by former co-star Samantha, 28, who accused Lea of making her life "a living hell" on set, raging: "I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD 'S*** IN MY WIG!' AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD."

In response to the backlash, Lea shared a lengthy statement apologizing for her behavior, despite admitting she didn't "remember" the incident Samantha spoke of, and denied judging anybody by "the color of their skin."

Her message read: "While I don't remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that's not really the point, what matters is that 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."

The Sun has reached out to Leah's rep for a comment.

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