In a newly released preview clip from her appearance on Showtime's ZIWE, the actress was asked some extremely direct questions about her former Gleeco-star. And seeing as how Riley previously said wasn't "going to say that Lea Michele was racist" during an Instagram Live from 2020, you better believe that host Ziwe Fumudoh was going to check in on that.
"Speaking of getting down in the muck, you said that one of your famous co-workers wasn't racist," as the comedian began, which Riley immediately answered with a groan and the old "next question," please.
"I don't even know how to answer that," she continued, though she eventually tries to wriggle out of the conversation by responding, "Umm...I don't know which co-worker you're talking about. I had so many." And so Ziwe decided to do what any good interviewer does: ask the question again.
"Would you say that your famous co-worker doesn't see race, and is in fact rude to all of her co-workers?," she said in a more pointed reference to fellow Glee star Samantha Marie Ware's 2020 tweet about Michele's alleged racist microaggressions. So what does Riley think of the situation two years down the line?
Well, if she had to guess now, Riley apparently thinks Michele would answer any enquires about the subject in a very certain way. And if you guessed that it was the classic go-to response you get from any privileged white person being asked about race, you'd be 100% right.
"I think that she would probably say she doesn't see race. But as we discussed earlier, everyone does," Riley said. Granted, she also ended up answering Ziwe's follow-up question about whether the Glee set was a "race war" by saying that "it would require different races" before noting that she "was the only Black one."
The controversy started in June 2020 after Ware responded to Michele's online support of the Black Lives Matter movement by saying the Funny Girl star had made her life a "living hell" on set, which the latter eventually responded to in a statement.
"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," she wrote at the time.
"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," Michele said before adding, "We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings."
Watch Riley's conversation with Ziwe via Showtime's YouTube channel below.
Photos via Getty / Unique Nicole & Dia Dipasupil
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