Lea Michele’s Former ‘Ragtime’ Understudy Claims She Made Her ‘Cry Every Night’ On Set

Actress Lea Michele attends The 2016 InStyle And Warner Bros. 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 10, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.
Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Lea Michele’s former understudy Elizabeth Aldrich is the latest co-star to call out her alleged behavior on set.

Aldrich shared an unpleasant memory she has of Michele via Twitter on Wednesday, June 3. In her tweet, Aldrich revealed a photo from when they worked together on Ragtime. Michele is 12 years old in the photo, and the two girls are both smiling for the camera. Although they appeared to be fond of each other in the picture, Aldrich claimed in her text that Michele was difficult to work with back then.

“I was @LeaMichele’s u/s in Ragtime. She was absolutely awful to me and ensemble,” Aldrich wrote. “She demeaned the crew and threatened to have people fired if she was in any way displeased. I used to cry every night from the mean and manipulative things she would do. She was 12. She was terrifying.”

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When asked why she didn’t come forward about Michele’s alleged negative acts at the time, Aldrich admitted she was afraid to speak up. She was 10 years old while they were working on the musical, and she believed her voice wouldn’t be heard. The actress also feared the team would favor Michele, and she wouldn’t be able to work again. In her response, Aldrich said her friends who went on to work with Michele on Spring Awakening would have the same concerns when they witnessed her in action.

“Actors are often silenced but I’m glad her abuse has been brought to light and hope that she takes a real hard look at herself and ameliorates her ways,” Aldrich said.

Reports surrounding Michele’s antics behind the scenes came to the forefront on Monday, June 1. After seeing how the Scream Queens actress responded to the alleged killing of George Floyd, actress Samantha Marie Ware pointed out how Michele treated her when she was on Glee. Following Ware’s remarks, Dabier Snell, who had a minor role on the Fox series, recalled a time when Michele told him he “didn’t belong” with the other cast members. Fellow Glee alum Heather Morris, who played Britney S. Pierce, said that Michele’s alleged bullying was an ongoing theme on the set, and she’s also happy that it’s currently making headlines.

Michele took to Instagram on Wednesday, June 3 to discuss the controversy. In her lengthy post, Michele apologized for how her actions were “perceived” by her fellow co-stars. She also denied ever participating in any racial injustices during her career or in her personal life. The apology wasn’t enough for Ware, who criticized Michele’s use of the word “perceived.” The Hamilton star then instructed Michele to donate to a GoFundMe campaign that was created for James Scurlock. Reportedly, Scurlock was fatally shot by a white bar owner in Omaha on Saturday, May 30.