There’s always the point when the Internet’s little jokes about a celebrity reach the ears of that celebrity, at which time the joke is, more often than not, ruined. Simply by acknowledging our plebeian giggles, the celeb manages to diffuse the magic. And heaven forbid they try to play along, as the joke tends to then become too cornball to survive. (The major exception to this being the Morbius debacle, in which the Morbius team trying to get in on the joke led to such glorious failure that Morbin’ Time became immortal.)
Alas, the years-long “Lea Michele Can’t Read” conspiracy theory has reached critical mass, forcing Michele herself to address it in her big New York Times profile. Michele supposedly doesn’t want to “fuel the fire” of her online criticism, but couldn’t help correct the record in the newspaper of record. “I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day,” the future Funny Girl protests. “And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”
Michele’s illiteracy was less a “rumor” than it was simply a fun time for the kids at home. And as pervasive as sexism may be, no Glee cast member is truly safe from meme-ification. Even before Matthew Morrison was in the news for questionable behavior, TikTok was dragging him over the coals for his cringiest moments as Mr. Schue.
Anyway, there are actual, genuine criticisms of Michele’s behavior for her to respond to, yet on that subject, she doesn’t “feel the need to handle things” through the media. Instead, she alludes to accusations of bullying and racism on the Glee set by saying, “I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader. It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.” What’s important now is that you know Michele can, in fact, read, so send this one to the meme graveyard, Internet.