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Why Does TikTok Think Lea Michele Can’t Read?! This Rumor Explained

lea michele can't read

For the past few days, I’ve seen so many random videos about the actress Lea Michele. This isn’t too strange for my For You Page, considering Glee, which the actress starred in is still very popular throughout my generation. Although I’ve never watched it myself, I can see the appeal and understand why the fanbase is still so strong. Though, what I didn’t expect was to see trending videos about how Lea Michele can’t read. Huh? Though, some of the evidence is pretty incriminating. Let’s dive in and take a look at this insane TikTok rumor – why does the internet think Lea Michele can’t read?!

Where It Started

Surprisingly, this rumor started way back in 2017. Jaye Hunt and Robert Ackerman, of the podcast One More Thing, were taking a dive into the late Naya Rivera’s memoir Sorry Not Sorry and were discussing a section of the book discussing Michele’s on-set attitude. When looking for a response from Michele about this portion of the book – they couldn’t find anything online. They wondered if she had even responded to the book at all, joking that “maybe she can’t read so she can’t read the book.” While this joke was simply a joke at first, the duo spiraled into the creation of a full-on conspiracy theory around it. This led to the infamous Facebook Live titled “Lea Michele Is Illiterate” which has since been taken down (clip above from TikTok).

Since this humble beginning, TikTok and Twitter have (recently more than ever) run wild with it. There are video clip compilations galore, Twitter threads that take all night to read, and even YouTube videos about it. But how are these strange claims even backed up? Let’s take a look at the most popular pieces of “evidence,” and what the Glee star has to say about the entire thing.

Lea Michele Signing Her Name


#stitch with @pattypopculture i’m not a conspiracy theorist but for this conspiracy i am #leamichele #leamicheleisilliterate #glee

♬ Spooky, quiet, scary atmosphere piano songs – Skittlegirl Sound

One of the biggest forms of evidence are Lea Michele’s famous book signings. After her book Brunette Ambition came out, fans lined up to have the star signed her book. One fan who shared her story on TikTok said fans were ushered so quickly though the line that there was no time or option for personalized notes. Michele’s signature vaguely represents a script “L” and an “M” but most fans call it out for it looking nothing like the English language. Beyond this simple “signature” or “symbol,” it seems no one has seen Michele write in person.

Lea Michele Announcing Awards

When it comes to reading off names at award shows, Lea is always paired with another person. And even then, she’s never the one to read the name out loud. Honestly, it really does look like she chimes in and yells out the name once the other person has already said it. Especially in the first clip, it really looks like she needs help reading the name. Whether it’s true or not (which I’m guessing it’s not), this compilation is absolutely hilarious and really really makes it seem like she cannot read.

Lea Responds To The Claims


#leamichele addresses the viral meme saying “she can’t read” here’s how i would’ve handled it #greenscreen #damagecontroled #fyp #fypシ #conspiracytheories

♬ original sound – Franchesca

For years, Michele has mostly responded to the rumor by laughing it off. For the first time, just a few days ago in a New York Times interview, she responded by saying:

“I went to ‘Glee’ every single day; I knew my lines every single day. 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.”

Fans (and social media users) have been making fun of this response – because, was sexism the route she should be taking? Many social media users are wishing Michele would take a different approach. When internet memes like this arise, the best way to respond to them is through humor. Whether that means she guest stars on Elmo’s World so he can teach her to read, she partners with Scholastic or she donates to the Child’s Literary Initiative, it could be played off in better ways. Honestly, though, she’s never actually denied the claims, whether she “knew her lines” or not has nothing to do with reading… but I’m getting in too deep.

Is This Rumor Abliest?

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A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil)

Since the rumor has been further popularized lately, many social media users are wondering if it abliest. Are people laughing at Michele because she can’t read? Whether they’re laughing at Michele specifically or not, it is albeit to laugh at those who aren’t able to read. And beyond ableism, it’s also a sign of privilege. Though, many fans of the conspiracy theory are begging people to see their point of view – they’re not laughing at the idea of someone being illiterate, they are laughing at the insane possibility of a huge celebrity hiding the fact she can’t read (while having written books and starred in TV shows and broadway productions). And beyond the possibility, they’re laughing at how much evidence there is to an outlandish claim such as this. Whether this is the case or not, people are not having it.

What do you think of this crazy TikTok rumor? Do you think people should keep talking about how Lea Michele can’t read? Let us know in the comment section below!

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