It is no secret that Lea Michele was a nightmare on the set of Glee.
Between bizarre bullying behavior and some pretty direct racism, she made even her unlikable character seem mild by comparison.
Lea has acknowledged a small portion of that. But what about the rumor that she … can’t read?
She is condemning that rumor. But she doesn’t seem to actually be denying it.
Some celebrity rumors are just facts lacking confirmation.
Others feel like they might be true, or at least could be true, but are likely to remain a mystery.
And then there are rumors that are blissfully evidence-free.
The claim that Lea Michele cannot read did not begin as a blind item. It mostly felt like people were saying it just to be mean.
But it’s right up there with “the Queen died months ago but they’re waiting to tell us” as far as rumors go.
By that, we mean that the more that you see jokes about it, the more that you begin to hope in your heart of hearts that it’s true.
It’s probably safe to say that Lea herself does not feel that way.
Whether or not she knows how to read, she has at least heard the rumor for herself.
To no one’s surprise, she is unhappy about it. Whether it’s because it’s hurtful and untrue or factual and embarrassing … who can say?
Lea has landed her dream role in the (ironically titled) Funny Girl Broadway musical, apparently sending Jane Lynch fleeing for the hills.
(Lynch, who had the unenviable experience of costarring with Lea on Glee, left the production even earlier than expected after Lea’s casting)
The New York Times spoke to Lea about many things. Including the very natural question of whether or not she can read.
“I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day,” Lea asserted.
“And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write?” she marveled. “It’s sad. It really is.”
Lea then speculated: “I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case,”
We’ve reread her comments at least a dozen times.
None of it appears to be an actual denial.
Let us do what Lea might or might not be able to do: read through that, line-by-line.
First and foremost, she cites having known her lines during her Glee era.
Just for the record, there are many ways of learning lines. It is not uncommon for people on set to read out lines to actors.
She is implying that she read her scripts, but not directly stating that she did.
Her second point is to comment that the rumor is “sad.”
False rumors are often sad, in that they speak to the state of the world. True rumors can also be sad. She does not specify which.
Finally, Lea seemingly asserts that no one would be saying this if she were a man.
Sexism is a plague that infects our society and our culture in nearly infinite and pernicious ways.
But … if Lea is a target for rumors (be they false or true), her gender is likely pretty low on the list. Her history of toxic behavior is the bigger issue.
You know what? It’s possible that fewer people would have spoken up about Lea’s monstrous on-set behavior if she were a man.
We’ll give her that much.
But, again, no part of her response was an actual denial.
We’re sure that, if you asked her (out loud, so that she can understand the question), she’d tell you that she thinks that the rumor doesn’t merit a direct denial.
But it’s much, much funnier to believe that Lea Michele cannot read and tiptoed around directly lying about it.
She might not like us saying so. But then, we have a feeling that Lea isn’t reading this article.